Last year, Take-Two Interactive secured Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant to be the cover athlete of its annual installment in the NBA 2K series of basketball sims. So how does the company top having arguably the best current basketball player in the world on its cover? It goes out and gets perhaps the best player of all time, a 14-time All-Star with six championship rings and five league MVP awards on his resume.
Take-Two today officially announced Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan will be on the cover of NBA 2K11 when the game debuts on multiple platforms October 5. The move was presaged last week in the wake of a report from ESPN (which has a licensing partnership with Electronic Arts, makers of newly renamed rival series NBA Elite).
The report speculated that the game would allow players to step into Jordan's shoes to re-create the biggest moments of his career against the actual players he faced (each licensed individually by the publisher). While 2K didn't confirm that, Jordan will apparently be playable in some form, as he was quoted in the announcement as saying, "I'm looking forward to getting back out onto the court, virtually. Let's hope they get my dunk from the foul line right."
Despite his prodigious accomplishments and numerous endorsements, Jordan was far from a perennial cover star in the gaming world. For much of Jordan's playing career, he had a licensing deal separate from the one that included the rest of the NBA. As a result, he was conspicuously absent from most NBA games over his career, appearing instead in vanity projects like his own Super Nintendo action game, Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City.