Kobe Bryant revealed as final NBA 2K21 cover athlete, honored with Mamba Forever edition

The final of three NBA 2K21 cover athletes was revealed on Thursday, and that athlete is the late, great Kobe Bryant.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar, who died in a tragic helicopter crash along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in January, is even getting his very own edition of the game. He’ll be gracing the cover of the Mamba Forever edition, which is replacing the Legend edition. Bryant appeared on the cover of the Legend edition for NBA 2K17.

The cover of the current gen game features artwork of Bryant from his 81-point performance in 2006, wearing No. 8.

The cover of the next gen game features artwork of Bryant a decade later, after he scored 60 points in his final NBA game while wearing No. 24.

The artwork on the covers are both paintings, and NBA 2K21 released a time-lapse video of their creation.

NBA 2K21 had already announced Damian Lillard as its current gen cover athlete and Zion Williamson as its next gen cover athlete. Adding Bryant to the mix means NBA 2K21 will represent three generations of basketball stars.

"Each of our cover athletes represent different eras of the game of basketball—Damian Lillard dominates the court today, Zion Williamson is a standard-bearer for the next generation of NBA superstar and what more could be said about Kobe?" said Alfie Brody, VP of global marketing at NBA 2K, via Bleacher Report. "Three athletes representing the current, future and storied history of the game. Today’s exciting announcement is just the first of many for NBA 2K21; it’s going to be a huge year for basketball fans and NBA 2K gamers."

The game will launch worldwide on Sept. 4.

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