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NBA 2K: Which players have the most appearances?

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Here’s a look at the basketball players who have been on the cover of NBA 2K.
USA Today Images

It's that time again. When an NBA player, past or present, graces the cover of the top-rated basketball gaming franchise, NBA 2K.

This year's 2K23 edition will feature the GOAT himself: Michael Jordan. With 2K23 marking the 23rd edition of the franchise, it’s fitting that No. 23 would adorn the cover, which will be Jordan’s fourth cover appearance.

The latest installment of the video game is set for a global release on Friday, Sept. 9.

NBA 2K was first released in 1999, and since then, the gaming franchise has put out additional editions annually. Starting with 2K16, the franchise started to release special editions of the game that honored legends and region-specific players. Jordan was the first player to be on the cover of the special edition. 

Some players have been on the cover multiple times, while some basketball legends have never been chosen as the 2K cover athlete.

With NBA 2K23’s release just a few months away, here's a look at some of the athletes who have been featured on the cover:

 

What is NBA 2K?

NBA 2K is a series of basketball video games developed and released annually since 1999. The game emulates the sport of basketball, and more specifically, the NBA. It allows users to play and compete using NBA teams and players. 

Which player has the most 2K cover appearances?

Philadelphia 76ers icon Allen Iverson holds the record for the most cover appearances with five. Iverson was featured on the first five covers – 2K, 2K1, 2K2, 2K3 and ESPN NBA Basketball 2K4 – of the NBA 2K standard edition. 

Jordan has the second-most cover appearances with four (2K11, 2K12, 2K16 and 2K23). Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant rounds out the top three with the the third-most cover appearances (2K10, 2K17 and 2K21 Mamba Edition).

Which player has been on back-to-back 2K covers?

Along with Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal (2K6 and 2K7) and Jordan (2K11 and 2K12) are the only players to be on back-to-back covers of the video game.

Who is the youngest player to be on the 2K cover?

Zion Williamson became the youngest player to be on the cover in 2020 after being featured on NBA 2K21 at age 20, supplanting Chris Paul (NBA 2K8) and Anthony Davis (NBA 2K16). Paul and Davis were featured on the cover at 22 years old. 

Who is the oldest player to be on the 2K cover?

Boston Celtics' Larry Bird was the oldest player to be featured at 54 years old when the legendary forward graced the standard edition cover of 2K11. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, however, holds the trophy for the oldest player to be featured on a special edition cover. At 75 years old, Abdul-Jabbar was on NBA 2K22, which honored the NBA’s 75th Anniversary.

Has a WNBA player ever been on the 2K cover?

WNBA player Candace Parker became the first woman to be featured on the cover of 2K for 2K22, the year that marked the 25th anniversary of the WNBA. 

 

Which top NBA player has not yet been on the 2K cover?

There are a few legendary players, active and retired, who have not yet been on the cover of NBA 2K. Here’s a list of some of those players below:

Russell Westbrook 

Tracy McGrady

Tim Duncan

Kawhi Leonard

Vince Carter

Steve Nash

Carmelo Anthony

Dwight Howard

Jason Kidd

Paul Pierce