Are you ready for the next face of NBA 2K?
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic has broken away from a deal with EA Sports, and he has signed with 2K.
No details were revealed on the new agreement, but it makes Doncic the favorite to be the cover athlete for NBA 2K22.
Doncic was officially named the cover athlete for NBA Live Mobile back in December 2019, but nothing has materialized for the console version of the brand.
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— EA SPORTS NBA LIVE MOBILE (@EASPORTSNBALM) December 10, 2019
There have been rumblings of a revival of the series, but Doncic’s reported exit from EA suggests that reboot isn’t happening anytime soon.
Doncic Was Reportedly Frustrated With the Stagnation of the NBA Live Franchise
According to the source, Doncic grew frustrated with the lack of development associated with the NBA Live brand. Because the NBA Live franchise is on an indeterminate hiatus, Doncic’s earning potential attached to the agreement with EA, or any other sports video game, was going to waste.
The 22-year-old is one of the most popular basketball players globally and is positioned to be a perennial MVP candidate for the foreseeable future.
If Doncic is tied to an agreement with EA throughout this very productive and high-profile portion of his career, it’s reasonable to conclude he and his representatives would prefer this aspect of his likeness be maximized by the game’s publisher.
Doncic signing with 2K doesn’t mean he won’t appear in future versions of NBA Live. That inclusion is still covered by the game’s assumed licensing agreement with the NBA Players Association.
However, things like the cover athlete honor and more individual endorsements and appearances associated with video games would likely be exclusive to 2K.
What Doncic’s Inclusion Could Mean for NBA 2K22
The cover athlete honor is one of the most significant potential impacts for this deal. Doncic would become the first-ever European player to appear on the cover of a North American version of NBA 2K.
2K has chosen other European players to appear on the cover of the game in the region of the world where they were born and/or raised, but Doncic could be the first one to grace what most consider the primary spot.
Another potential impact of Doncic’s reported 2K deal is the return of the Euroleague. 2K used to have Euroleague teams and players, but that feature was removed ahead of NBA 2K18.
Because of the Slovenian’s roots in the Euroleague, it would seem to be a perfect time to bring back the teams and players, considering Doncic’s cover could stimulate even more interest in Europe.
While that might seem like an obvious inclusion, 2K has not always taken advantage of what would appear to be home-run-feature additions. For example, 2K didn’t include a single-player mode dedicated to the late Kobe Bryant for NBA 2K17 after he retired or in NBA 2K21 following his untimely passing in 2020.
Both would have been well-received by many 2K fans, but for whatever reason, 2K chose not to include those modes. We could see something like that in NBA 2K22. If so, that would be one of the more attractive new additions.
Take this for what it’s worth, considering 2020 was a bizarre year, but the cover athletes for NBA 2K21 were revealed on July 1, 2020. Keep an eye out for late summer to find out if Doncic is officially confirmed as the NBA 2K22 cover athlete.
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