has never before appeared on the cover of a video game. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Heat forward LeBron James will grace the cover of "NBA 2K14," the first time he has served as the cover boy for a video game during his career. James is pictured in a white Heat jersey with his arms extended above his head as he does his patented pregame chalk toss.
2K Games announced James' selection on Thursday to coincide with Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals between the Heat and Spurs. The video game will go on sale on Oct. 1.
“My friends, family, and fans all know how much I love NBA 2K," James said in a statement. "I remember, as a kid, getting so excited for the game to come out and see who was on the cover and it's amazing to be a part of this great tradition."
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Bulls guard Derrick Rose shared the cover last year. In 2012, NBA legends Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson each individually appeared on versions of the cover after Jordan graced the cover by himself in 2011. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was the cover boy in 2010. Yahoo.com notes that the last three versions of the game sold at least 5 million copies.
Kotaku.com reports an explanation for the timing of the choice.
"The fact he's never been on a cover before helped build the mystique of LeBron and perhaps built the anticipation for some day when he may appear," said Jason Argent, the senior vice president of sports operations for 2K Games. "We've been asked about it for years and years, and we think he picked an ideal time to partner up with us."
James was named 2012 MVP, 2012 Finals MVP, 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and 2013 MVP. He also won the 2012 title with the Heat, the first of his career, and a gold medal with USA Basketball at the London Olympics. The Heat entered the Finals as favorites to beat the Spurs and James was the leading candidate to be named Finals MVP.
Here's a look at the "NBA 2k14" cover.
LeBron James will grace the cover of "NBA 2K14." (2K Games)