The NBA 2K franchise is so strong, it can take a couple of future basketball hall-of-famers and give them guest-star roles in the commentary booth, then play it off as a nice little atmospheric detail. That’s where this series sits in relation to its peers, none of whom come anywhere close in broadcast presentation.
Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett will visit with NBA 2K18’s broadcasters — again, the game has multiple booth teams, something no other sports video game is doing — as special guest commentators this year.
In a trailer announcing their inclusion, you can see lead announcer Kevin Harlan getting them to open up about playing, and players on the court whom they know, just like he would if they stopped by on TNT. This may not seem like a big thing, but it is: They record their lines together. This has steadily become the industry standard, but 2K Sports has been doing it the longest.
You can also get your first glimpse of Kyrie Irving in Boston Celtics green (1:24 of the video). Irving will grace this year’s cover in his old Cleveland Cavaliers uniform — he was traded to Boston in a mammoth deal just last week. 2K Sports will release a version of the game with Irving in his new uniform sometime after NBA 2K18 launches Sept. 19.
Bryant and Garnett need no introduction to basketball fans. The two met in a memorable 2008 NBA Finals that reignited the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, with Garnett’s Celtics prevailing in six. It earned him Garnett the cover of NBA 2K9 the following October.
That season, Bryant roared back with the Lakers, claimed his fourth NBA title, and starred on the cover of NBA 2K10’s Tenth Anniversary Edition. Then Bryant got his revenge on Garnett in 2010 when the Lakers beat the Celtics in a seven-game Finals.
2K Sports also reminds that a free demo (the “NBA 2K18 Prelude”) is coming on Sept. 8 to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.