Kobe Bryant Named Cover Athlete of 'NBA 2K21: Mamba Forever Edition'

Kobe Bryant has been honored once again. The former Los Angeles Lakers star will be on the cover of the "Mamba Forever Edition" of NBA 2K21. This was the most likely choice as the former Los Angeles Lakers star died in the helicopter crash in January. Fans were asking 2K for Bryant to be on the cover of the standard edition of NBA 2K21, but that honor went to Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

"Relentless. Driven. A true competitor. We celebrate Kobe Bryant as our Cover Athlete for the Current Gen Mamba Forever Edition," 2K wrote on Twitter. Fans of the basketball video game can now pre-order the "Mamba Forever Edition," which will be released later this year. As for NBA 2K20, gamers got together and showed off their custom Lakers gear and Bryant shirts in the NBA 2K's public area.

"Along with the rest of the world, we are shocked and devastated by the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant," a representative for publisher 2K Games told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement back in January. "He has been an inspiration on and off the court to us all, and a valued partner to 2K for many years. We're inspired and heartened by the ways the 2K player community are rallying together and honoring Kobe — including parades, custom jerseys, intentional 24-second shot clock violations, and dedicated streams."

This will not be the first time Bryant has been on the cover of NBA 2K. He was on the cover of NBA 2K10, and it came on the heels of him leading the Lakers to their fourth NBA title since 2000. Bryant was always a fan of the NBA 2K franchise and talked about how it made an impact on him when he was younger.

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"Video games were a big part of my childhood, especially basketball video games, so it's cool to be the face of a game, especially the 2K game, which is the best out there," Bryant said to ESPN in 2009. He also talked about playing video games with his friends was always intense.

"When we were growing up, we played video games with the environment of a hostile crowd," he says. "So you couldn't just play video games ... it didn't happen; you didn't have that luxury. You got hit at and fouled [while you played] to make it as realistic as possible."