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NBA 2K18 taps Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving for cover fame

His Cavs meet the Warriors in the NBA Finals again, tonight

NBA 2K18 standard edition cover Visual Concepts/2K Sports
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers will be the cover star for the main edition of NBA 2K18 when 2K Sports' basketball sim launches Sept. 19, the publisher announced today.

Irving was chosen for a resume that includes the 2012 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2014 All-Star Game MVP and a 2016 NBA Finals performance that averaged 27.1 points per game. That culminated in a world championship for Cleveland as the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

He and the Cavs are matched against the Warriors for the third straight year in an NBA Finals that begins tonight at 9 p.m.

In a statement, Irving called himself "an avid player of this series," and said making the cover was "surreal.

"I can't wait to dominate on the virtual court with all my fans this fall," he added, under a news release headlined by three fire emojis.

Visual Concepts/2K Sports

As is usually the case, 2K Sports paired the cover announcement with an inducement to pre-order the standard edition of the game, granting buyers four days of early access beginning Sept. 15. NBA 2K18 is launching for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Two special editions packing a lot more virtual goodies, and Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal on the cover, also are being offered, and also have the same four-day early access incentive for pre-ordering.

Irving, coincidentally, is the fourth NBA star to take the NBA 2K cover after appearing on the cover of EA Sports' NBA Live series. Irving was the cover star for NBA Live's return in late 2013 after a four-year hiatus. Preceding that, Kevin Durant, who later starred on the NBA 2K13 and 2K15 covers, had been tapped as the cover star for the ill-fated NBA Elite 11.

The other two crossovers were Shaquille O'Neal (way back in NBA Live '96, then NBA 2K6 and 2K7) and Kevin Garnett (NBA Live 2001 and NBA 2K9).

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