If you’re a video-game enthusiast who also loves the U.S. men’s national basketball team’s unique brand of competition-stomping brilliance, I’ve got some good news for you. The folks at 2K Sports announced Wednesday morning that this year’s edition of their wildly successful basketball video game, “NBA 2K17” — which will feature Indiana Pacers star and Team USA forward Paul George on its cover — will give you the opportunity to play as the 2016 version of Team USA as led by coach Mike Krzyzewski (who, lest we forget, is no stranger to the video-gaming world).
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On top of that, this year’s model will once again feature the legendary 1992 “Dream Team,” widely considered the greatest basketball team ever assembled and first introduced in the 2K series four years ago, after the London Olympics, which brought another U.S. gold medal and an awful lot of debate about whether the ’12 squad could’ve taken down their elders.
There hasn’t been very much chatter along those lines this summer, what with the Rio-bound version of Team USA missing headlining American superstars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin, but hey, if you want to line ’em up and let ’em go at digitally, “NBA 2K17” will afford you that chance … provided, of course, you pay up in advance. According to Owen S. Good of Polygon, “The Dream Team is being dangled as a pre-order bonus only for now,” though Kenny Ducey of Sports Illustrated reports that fans who don’t pre-order will be able to to pay to add the 1992 team to their games at a later date.
Yes we have the full Dream Team roster for those asking
— Ronnie 2K 2K17 (@Ronnie2K) July 27, 2016
… so, that’s neat.
Here’s what the Dream Team will look like:
— NBA 2K 2K17 (@NBA2K) July 30, 2016
(You know, I had forgotten that Angry Super Dave Osborne played the role of Larry Bird in Barcelona.)
… and here’s what the 2016 model of Team USA will look like:
— NBA 2K 2K17 (@NBA2K) July 30, 2016
Another interesting pre-order-only item, according to 2K: “a special USAB MyPLAYER jersey to fully customize their USA Basketball experience.” 2K’s MyPlayer mode has, in past editions, allowed gamers to create and control a character through every step of his career, from high school through college recruiting through the journey to become an NBA legend. With the introduction of a Team USA MyPlayer jersey, and Coach K now being in the mix to “become the voice and face of a new game tutorial,” per SI, and the recent confirmation that the Australian men’s national basketball team will also be included in “2K17,” could an expanded Olympics-focused mode be on the way? (It’d be a disappointment if one wasn’t, according to Bryan Wiedey of sports gaming site Pasta Padre: “Whether it be an Olympics mode, tournament setup, a role in the story mode, and ability to use online, [the Olympic teams] really should be featured in a more expansive manner.”)
2K’s staying mum on that for now, but with its USA Basketball partnership renewed, the game maker’s apparently hoping for bigger and better things to come. More from Ducey:
“They’ve been very good partners,” [2K vice president of marketing Alfie] Brody said. “We love the story we write, the narrative we can build around the USAB team. I think our focus would be on building and innovating what we’ve done … for the next round, four years from now, we’re going to really focus on new and fresh. Whether it’s a new mode in the game, or some special feature around USAB.”
Gamers will have to keep their fingers crossed for some more special features to come in the weeks before the release of “NBA 2K17” on Sept. 20 … or, for you Dream Team-loving pre-orderers out there, four days earlier, on Sept. 16.
More USA Basketball coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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