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NBA 2K22 coming in September with Doncic, Durant, Dirk, Kareem on the covers

Two editions to feature paintings by renowned artist Charly Palmer

a photo of artist Charly Palmer putting up a painting of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Durant, and Dirk Nowitzki next to a similar painting
Two versions of NBA 2K22’s NBA 75th Anniversary Edition cover and their painter, artist Charly Palmer.
Photo: 2K Sports
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

NBA 2K22 is scheduled to launch worldwide on Sept. 10 with six different cover athletes across four editions of the game, led by Dallas Mavericks star Luka Dončić, publisher 2K Sports announced Wednesday.

Dončić, a two-time NBA All-Star in his three seasons in the league, will grace the cover of NBA 2K22’s Standard Edition and Cross-Gen Digital Bundle. The background of the Standard Edition features artwork of a shouting Dončić draped in thick brushstrokes of blue, white, and red — a nod to the flag of his native country, Slovenia.

2K Sports is continuing its policy of charging $10 extra for its game on current-generation consoles, and of not offering a free upgrade from last-generation versions. The Standard Edition of NBA 2K22 will cost $69.99 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and $59.99 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. Anyone who wants to play the game across both generations on either PlayStation or Xbox will have to pony up for the $79.99 Cross-Gen Digital Bundle.

A third version of NBA 2K22 is a history-making one. 2K Sports is marking a milestone year for the WNBA with the WNBA 25th Anniversary Special Edition of NBA 2K22. Its cover will feature Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky — the first woman cover athlete in NBA 2K history.

“Representation matters, so this is a special moment of progress for the sport and the series,” Parker said in a statement. “To be part of this historic cover is a testament to the growth and rising popularity of the women’s game, and I’m proud to be the first female cover athlete to be the face of NBA 2K.”

The WNBA 25th Anniversary Special Edition will be released only on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X for $69.99, and it will not be available outside North America, where it will be sold exclusively at GameStop and EB Games. It comes with a neat bonus: seven WNBA jerseys (for Parker, Sabrina Ionescu, Jonquel Jones, Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, Diana Taurasi, and Nneka Ogwumike) for female MyPlayer characters in NBA 2K22’s WNBA career mode, The W.

The other special edition of NBA 2K22 is the NBA 75th Anniversary Edition. Its cover will feature Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant, whom 2K Sports described in a news release as “three of the league’s most iconic big men who revolutionized the league over its 75 years.” This will mark Durant’s third appearance on an NBA 2K cover, following NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K15. The package will be available on all aforementioned platforms for $99.99, and it will include cross-generation access for customers who buy it on PlayStation or Xbox.

Buyers of the NBA 75th Anniversary Edition of NBA 2K22 will get a raft of additional content for their extra $20:

  • 100,000 Virtual Currency (VC)
  • 10,000 MyTeam Points and 10 MyTeam Tokens
  • 10 Boosts for each MyCareer skill type and Gatorade Boost Type
  • 3 Sapphire MyTeam cards (one each for Abdul-Jabbar, Durant, and Nowitzki) and 22 MyTeam promo packs
  • Diamond Jordan Shoe MyTeam item & Coach Card MyTeam pack
  • MyPlayer apparel & accessories collection: 2 Luka Dončić T-shirts, 2 NBA 75th Anniversary cover athlete T-shirts, backpack, arm sleeve, and custom-designed skateboard

Finally, 2K Sports will release a special version of NBA 2K22’s Standard Edition in Japan that features Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards, the first Japanese player to be taken in the first round of an NBA draft, on the cover.

The special covers for NBA 2K22’s Cross-Gen Digital Bundle and NBA 75th Anniversary Edition are paintings by Charly Palmer, an artist whose work focuses on the history and culture of Black people. Palmer won acclaim most recently for “America Must Change,” a painting that was featured on the cover of Time magazine’s July 2020 issue.

“The culture around the game of basketball is vibrant and transcends geographical boundaries,” said Alfie Brody, vice president of global marketing strategy for NBA 2K. “This year, we want to showcase that global diversity via Charly’s amazing, one-of-a-kind art.”

As for NBA 2K22 itself, 2K Sports provided few details, saying only that the game will offer “best-in-class visual presentation and player AI, historic teams, and a wide variety of hoops experiences.”

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