“NBA 2k21” is set to release a “Mamba Forever” edition with two custom hand painted portraits of Kobe Bryant. The game is slated to release this year on September 4. Pre-orders began back on July 2.
Earlier this month, the official “NBA 2k21” Twitter account tweeted a video of a masked artist painting both pieces that will grace the cover of the game. Fans have been speculating on how the franchise would go about releasing the new edition after Bryant, his daughter Gianna and six others tragically passed away earlier this year. The “Mamba Forever” edition comes in at $99.99 with a free upgrade for next-gen consoles, whereas the traditional game will only be playable on current generation consoles.
Game developers had announced that Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard and New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson would be the first two cover players. The “NBA 2k” franchise began hosting more than one cover athlete after “NBA 2k11.” From “NBA 2k” to the franchise’s brief foray as “ESPN NBA Basketball” in lieu of “NBA 2k4,” Allen Iverson was the sole cover athlete for the game. Bryant graced the cover twice, once for “NBA 2k10” and sharing the spotlight with former-Indiana Pacer Paul George for “NBA 2k17.” George appeared on the game’s regular edition in the United States, while Bryant graced the Legend Edition.
As more information about the game begins to roll out, fans have hoped for more “Mamba Forever” merch including prints of Bryant’s cover art.
Honestly, the memorialization of Kobe feels undermined as a cash grab by developer Visual Concepts that we are all too familiar with. Asking for $100 for the Kobe edition seems distasteful and it’s Visual Concepts and 2k Sports that are profiting off the death of an icon. $100 should give you prints and merch or something to legitimize the exploration of a legend.