Reacting to the 2K21 Kobe cover drop…

A short, virtual, roundtable…

What are your thoughts on the Kobe cover(s)?

Kirk Killick: A nice blend of colour and design to show the late Kobe Bryant. It must have been hard to find an image that represents Kobe that others have not used over the past six months, let alone his long 20 year career. The painted design for both generations of consoles shows off Kobe as we all remember him, the high flying youth who graced are screens at the young age of 18 followed by the signing off image of his last game.

Mike Miller: They’re beautiful. Sad, but beautiful. They diversion from photos to art echos “Dear Basketball” (albeit in colour). I love that there are two versions (one for each gen) essentially book ending his career. The current gen pic (from the ’01 Finals if I’m not mistaken) was during his rise from brash, cocky kid to elite NBA Star and the next gen, his final goodbye.

How important is it that he is recognised by 2K?

KK: I am so thankful for 2K adding Kobe to this year’s collection of cover athletes. Kobe was first seen on an NBA 2K cover back in 2K10, and then was on the first Legends Edition in 2K17. It’s sad to say but this probably will be the last time we see him on a NBA 2K cover. 2K have done him justice with this cover art that you would be more than fitting to put on your wall.

MM: It’s huge. After the his tragic death in January, which is still painful, it was almost a given that the best basketball game in the world paid tribute to him in some way. There is none more fitting really than this. We all expected it.

Is it right that 2K is profiting off him?

KK: Good question. Should donations go towards the Mamba Academy? Yes and no. Yes they should as no one should profit from someone that is no longer with us. But, there are going to many young NBA 2K players out there who may not have seen Kobe play and if this is the first edition they ever play or bought it is, to me, priceless. Knowing that there could be some youngster out there picking up the game for the first time and Kobe is in the menu (lets hope he is) brings me joy.

MM: Asking the deep questions here! None of this would be happening with Vanessa and the Bryant family’s agreement, let’s be clear. Though the press release didn’t confirm, given that both Dame and Zion (Kobe’s co-cover athletes for 2K21) will be working with the 2K Foundation (2K’s charitable arm) to improve underserved communities, I’d be shocked if there isn’t something in the pipeline linked to the Mamba’s involvement. If anything, Kobe’s name will boost sales which would indeed help the Foundation in delivering more, bigger projects.

Of the four 2K21 covers, which your favourite?

KK: Kobe wearing the no.8 jersey is my favourite of this year’s cover choices. It brings back memories of me sitting at home watching Kobe doing the between the legs at the All-Star Dunk Contest in 1997, the Kobe & Shaq duo and the countless hours of entertainment I’ve got from him.

MM: I’m with Kirk here, it’s the current gen “8” version – for purely nostalgic reasons. My only gripe with the image is the Nike logo has been added to his jersey and his Adidas Kobe Two have been made to look like Hurrache’s. But that’s nit-picking something that is a beautiful image. Hats off the to 2K guys again this year for dropping four impressive covers!