We've known for several days that Miami Heat forward LeBron James was the choice for the cover of "NBA 2K14," the next video game 2K Sports is putting out , but the 2013 NBA Finals have taken center stage as the Heat look to best the San Antonio Spurs for the league title.
In a bit of reflection time for the league, fans of James and fans of video games everywhere, it's time we recognize that 2K Sports made a slam dunk choice with LBJ—without question the best player on the planet right now.
And it's not even close.
2K Sports made the announcement official last week, right as James and the Heat were preparing to tackle their demons in the form of a Game 2 showdown with San Antonio (via Jared Zwerling of ESPN).
A leaked image also came out several days before, seen here via Bleacher Report on Twitter:
It must have brought good omens to South Beach, as the Heat rolled to a 19-point win over the Spurs and have all the momentum in the series heading to San Antonio for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
The four-time NBA MVP, one-time NBA champ and consensus All-NBA First-Team forward is in a good place right now—vying for title No. 2 and looking to cement a path to the dynasty he promised Miami fans during that fateful introduction in the summer of 2010.
He's also in a place very few athletes ever get to—the cover of a video game. This is James' first-such honor, and who better to take 2K Sports into the "Next Gen" era than Lebron.
Is there anyone in the NBA right now more marketable than No. 6?
Jersey sales would suggest Carmelo Anthony (via USA Today), but James has held that title three times and likely still makes money on closeout deals of his No. 23 jersey in Cleveland.
For commercials, camps, posters, shoes, highlight films, appearances and pure in-game talent, there's no one in the NBA that compares to the crowd that James can draw when he's putting on a show and leading his team to wins on the court.
His celebrations even have a bobblehead (via My Sports Legion):
New LeBron James celebration dance bobble head. pic.twitter.com/r1A3mpSZTs— NBA Legion (@MySportsLegion) June 11, 2013
James had a hand in the development process, which is likely part of the reason he joined up with 2K for this next phase of work the company is putting in to make video games as close as possible to the likeness of the athletes.
However, it doesn't hurt that he's doing video game-type things on the court, most notably blocking Tiago Splitter in a play you will likely see over and over again until the end of time.
There's no other grade than "A" to give 2K Sports with their decision use James on the cover for "NBA 2K14."
When will you buy 'NBA 2K14?'
The icing on the cake would be an NBA Finals victory for Miami, but there won't be any shortage of individuals who scour game stores for the release of this video game when it becomes readily available to the public.
Well done, 2K. Well done.
Love him or hate him (and believe me, there's plenty of people in both categories) James is what he is—a superstar of the highest order in the NBA. If you want to be the best, you have to advertise the best (in the video game world), and there's no one better than James on an NBA roster right now.
My Player Mode in the game might be a different story, but in the real world, No. 6 is where it starts and ends in the NBA these days.