NBA 2K21: Next-Gen Cover Athlete Reveal, Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson, Release Date, Pre-Orders, New Animations, MyTeam, Wishlist, Editions, Price, PS5, Xbox Series X, Soundtrack & more

After a long wait, we finally got our first look at NBA 2K21 at the PS5 Reveal event. Since then, the floodgates have opened on exciting new info about the game.

Let’s go over everything we’ve gotten so far.

Latest News – Zion Williamson is the next-gen cover star!

Today confirmed Zion Williamson as the PS5 & Xbox Series X cover star for the game.

NBA 2K21 Cover Reveal Zion 1920x1080 PEGI EN
UP AND AWAY: Zion has been amazing in his short time in the NBA

That means when the PS5 and Xbox Series X arrive, it will be Williamson on the front.

You can watch Zion’s Next-Gen trailer below:

Current-gen cover star

In quite a surprise twist, yesterday saw Damian Lillard announced as the current-gen cover athlete for NBA 2K21.

That means Lillard will feature on PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Switch, and Stadia covers.

You can watch Lillard’s current-gen trailer below:

NBA 2K21 Release Date reveal on 2 July

The game has been announced, but no firm release date has been given by 2K. They have just said we can expect the game in “Fall 2020”.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about NBA Live 21

Given NBA 2K’s previous release dates, we anticipate a September release for the 2K Sports title on the current generation consoles.

We will get a firm date from 2K on 2 July so come back then for an update!

Pre-order opening soon

While the release window has been given to us by 2K, we don’t yet have pre-orders available.

We’re looking forward to seeing what 2K may have in store for those who go ahead with the pre-order, as if PGA Tour 2K21 is anything to go by, we may get some great in-game and real-world extras!

2K has stated that pre-orders will open up on 2 July though, so stay tuned!


There have been many reveals so far for NBA 2K21. One of the most recent is five artists that will be on the game’s soundtrack.


Comment who else you wanna see on the #NBA2K21 In-Game Soundtrack ???? @ray.2k

♬ Don’t I? – Tarik

These five artists are Polo G, Roddy Ricch, Stormzy, Tory Lanez, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.

Each of these artists have a wide range of hits that could fit the game, so we’ll have to wait and see which songs make the cut.


We saw NBA 2K21 during the PS5 reveal in June.

It features a very sweaty looking Zion Williamson – building excitement for the next title.

Cover Star

So now we know that Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson will be two of a trio of cover stars.

The Trail Blazers point guard will be the face of NBA 2K21 on the current-generation of consoles as well as PC, Stadia, and Switch.

nba 2k21 damian lillard cover 1
WHO ELSE?: We know there will be two more stars for NBA 2K21

Zion Williamson is the face of NBA 2K21 on next-gen, which leaves one more cover athlete to come.

We expect Kobe Bryant to be a cross-generation Legends Edition cover star.


NBA 2K games come in many different editions.

Each edition will have its own rewards package, with the Legend Edition usually getting its own cover star.

Using past releases as reference and some current predictions, we expect three different editions of NBA 2K21.

That will likely be the Standard Edition, the Digital Deluxe Edition, and the Legend Edition.

We expect the Standard Edition will cost around £55 (or $60), the Digital Deluxe Edition will cost around £65 (or $75), and the Legend Edition will cost around £90 ($100).

New animations

In another TikTok teaser, 2K have shown off some of the motion capture work going into new dunk animations.


Behind the scenes at Mocap #NBA2K21 ????

♬ original sound – nba2k

It looks like dominating your opponent will be even better this year!

Career Mode

In the current generation of sports games, offline titles seem to be a thing of the past, with many players opting to tackle the challenges of the online modes.

Idris Elba featured in NBA 2K20's career mode

However, that is not the case for 2K. They continue to produce top-end Career Mode’s year after year, meaning fans simply can’t stay away!

READ MORE: NBA 2K20 has the best career mode you’ll ever play

This year’s mode was the best to date by far. Star names such as Idris Elba and LeBron James lent their voice to characters in the SpringHill produced ‘When The Lights Are Brightest’ MyCAREER.

While the storyline and career progression in this year’s mode was incredible, there are still areas to improve, starting with those darn microtransactions!


There’s nothing but potential behind NBA 2K21 as a next-gen debut.

Because of this, we have some pretty big asks across our wishlists for the game. These include changes to MyGM, MyTEAM, MyLEAGUE, MyCAREER, Park/Neighborhood, and maybe even the inclusion of an NCAA game mode.

If 2K Games can pull even a few of these off, this game could be the best in the series.

READ MORE: Real Opinions – NBA 2K21 could be the best yet with these changes


Another largely successful game mode in the NBA 2K series, including the most recent NBA 2K20, is the squad building MyTEAM.

NBA 2K20's MyTeam

It has had its fair share of controversy last year. In order to encourage participation, players are rewarded with mini-games such as drop the ball or spin the wheel.

Combining these casino-style mini-games with the ability to spend real money to purchase packs in an attempt to better your team has caused outrage amongst the community, who believe that 2K are promoting gambling to a young audience. Could we see these mini-games removed in 2K21?

READ MORE: NBA 2K20 MyTeam tips & tricks

There are certainly a lot of microtransactions in MyTEAM, meaning it is tough for casual players to compete with those willing to invest some extra money into the game. It’s not uncommon, but with the game alone priced at £59.99 for the standard edition or £89.99 for the legend edition on release, there shouldn’t be a need to pay big amounts of money for success.


MyGM is a unique game mode for the NBA 2K series with a lot of potential. Unfortunately that potential simply wasn’t delivered on in NBA 2K20.

nba 2k21 mygm chit chat gm mode next gen

MyGM in NBA 2K20 picked up a collection of frustrating features and boring mechanics. But with some reshaping, this could be one of the most popular game modes in the series.

READ MORE: NBA 2K20: MyTEAM Guide – How to win without spending big

MyGM in NBA 2K20 relies on a “chit-chat” system to retain every talent in your organization from scouts to coaches to players. It includes some of the worst dialogue ever written into a major sports franchise with lines like “Oceans or lakes…WHO YA GOT?”

With some adjustment, MyGM has a bright future in NBA 2K21.


As we have alluded to already, the next-gen of gaming is coming, but what will the PS5 and Xbox Series X mean for sports games? You can keep up to date on the next gen at Stealth Optional.

The new PlayStation 5 logo
NEXT GEN: What do the new consoles mean for NBA 2K?

For what we know now, the scope for development is going to be HUGE. The specs in the PS5 alone include a new eight-core AMD CPU based on AMD’s new 7nm Zen 2 architecture and a custom GPU based on its new Radeon Navi hardware.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about next-gen consoles

Now for you gaming nerds, this will excite you. For those who don’t quite understand all the lingo, trust us, it means big things!

Feel the game with Haptic Feedback

Let’s not forget that the PS5 is more than just the console. It comes with a game-changing DualSense Controller.

Amongst many features, it has ‘haptic feedback’ (vibration) which works to simulate in-game actions.

Players could well get to experience the feeling of running, shooting and dribbling like never before with NBA 2K21 on PS5.

Fighting for sport-sim supremacy

NBA 2K21 will be an important moment in gaming history. It will be one of the biggest games releasing around the time that developer 2K Games fights for exclusive rights to NFL-based sim games. The NFL ended its exclusive license to EA for NFL games, signing a deal with 2K games to make a non-sim game in 2021.

If 2K Games performs well with NBA 2K21 and its upcoming non-sim football game, we could easily see a tectonic shift in the sports game genre.


As we mentioned in our NBA Live preview piece, a feature which would be massive for 2K21 would be the ability to game, either socially or competitively, against users on other platforms.

NBA 2K21 Zion Williamson Hype Still from PS5 Teaser Trailer
COMING IN STRONG: Zion is the favorite for the cover after his trailer appearance

Epic Games, the developers of our game of the year, Fortnite, revolutionised gaming with their addition of cross-platform gaming, could 2K21 be the start of cross-platform gaming on sports titles?

Only time will tell.

The post NBA 2K21: Next-Gen Cover Athlete Reveal, Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson, Release Date, Pre-Orders, New Animations, MyTeam, Wishlist, Editions, Price, PS5, Xbox Series X, Soundtrack & more appeared first on RealSport.

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