NBA Live 19’s cover athlete is Joel Embiid, the young superstar center for the Philadelphia 76ers, publisher Electronic Arts announced tonight during the 2018 NBA Awards.
Embiid, 24, was selected No. 3 overall by the Sixers in 2014, but didn’t make his NBA debut until the 2016-17 season due to injury. That’s when the 7-foot center started tearing up the league, making the NBA All-Rookie first team even though he played less than half the season. In the 2017-18 campaign, Embiid was named to his first NBA All-Star team and led the Sixers to the playoffs for the first time in six years; he was up for the Defensive Player of the Year award tonight, but lost to Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.
EA chose Embiid for more than his stats, though. The Cameroonian-born athlete (his name is pronounced jo-EL EM-beed) is known for his competitive drive and his playful, winsome personality, which comes through in some lovably troll-y tweets.
Embiid will be one of the NBA stars that NBA Live 19 players can pick up in The One, the game’s career mode, which debuted in NBA Live 18. This year, EA is adding a feature called Build Your Squad in which players will be able to compete on street basketball courts around the world, aiming to recruit current NBA athletes like Embiid and “several other prolific ballers,” according to EA, along with all-time greats like 76ers legend Allen Iverson.
EA announced during EA Play earlier this month that it plans to release NBA Live 19 Sept. 7 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That puts it ahead of the other EA Sports titles scheduled for the month, NHL 19 (Sept. 14) and FIFA 19 (Sept. 28). It’s earlier than usual for basketball games, but EA’s competition, 2K Sports, is also moving up this year: The public launch of NBA 2K19 — which will be available on Nintendo Switch and Windows PC in addition to PS4 and Xbox One — is set for Sept. 11.
For more on NBA Live 19, check out the Embiid cover artwork, as well as the game’s reveal trailer from EA Play, below.