*UPDATED* NBA 2K21: Release Date REVEALED, Kobe Bryant Cover, Next-Gen Cover, Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson, Pre-Orders, New Animations, MyTeam, Wishlist, Editions, Price, PS5, Xbox Series X, Soundtrack & more

we finally know when NBA 2K21 will arrive.

We also have our third and final cover athlete!

Let’s go over everything we know about the game so far.

Latest news – Backward compatibility confirmed for Xbox players

An NBA 2K Spokesperson has confirmed that Xbox players will be able to carry on their game if they buy NBA 2K21 at release and then upgrade to the Xbox Series X.

“The current-gen version of NBA 2K21 will be playable on Xbox Series X via backward compatibility, while the next-gen version is only playable on Xbox Series X.

“For players who are interested in picking up both versions of the game, the NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition features dual-access to current and next-generation versions, within the same console family.”

Kobe Bryant cover

2K is giving Kobe Bryant the kind of tribute his impact on the game deserves.

The Mamba Forever Edition features a current- and next-gen cover of Bryant.

nba 2k21 kobe next gen current 1
LEGEND: Two covers for the iconic Kobe Bryant

2K has also confirmed a release date of 4 September for NBA 2K21!

NBA 2K21 release date

That’s right, the release date is now confirmed.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about NBA Live 21

Given NBA 2K’s previous release dates, we anticipated a September release, but it is an amazing feat for 2K to confirm the 4 September date given everything that has gone on this year.

Pre-orders & price

Pre-orders are now live!

The Standard Edition of NBA 2K21 is priced at £54.99 / $59.99, while the Mamba Forever Edition is £84.99 / $99.99.

Stay tuned for any deals hiding around the internet that you can take advantage of though!


There have been many reveals so far for NBA 2K21. One of the most recent is five artists that will be on the game’s soundtrack.


Comment who else you wanna see on the #NBA2K21 In-Game Soundtrack ???? @ray.2k

♬ Don’t I? – Tarik

These five artists are Polo G, Roddy Ricch, Stormzy, Tory Lanez, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.

Each of these artists have a wide range of hits that could fit the game, so we’ll have to wait and see which songs make the cut.


We saw NBA 2K21 during the PS5 reveal in June.

It features a very sweaty looking Zion Williamson – building excitement for the next title.

Cover Star

So now we know that Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson, and Kobe Bryant will be the trio of cover stars.

The Trail Blazers point guard will be the face of NBA 2K21 on the current-generation of consoles as well as PC, Stadia, and Switch.

nba 2k21 damian lillard cover 1
WHO ELSE?: We know there will be two more stars for NBA 2K21

Zion Williamson is the face of NBA 2K21 on next-gen, that’s PS5 & Xbox Series X – when they eventually arrive.

NBA 2K21 Cover Reveal Zion 1920x1080 PEGI EN

Kobe Bryant gets two covers for his Mamba Forever Edition – one for current-gen and one for next-gen.

nba 2k21 kobe next gen current 1
MAMBA FOREVER: On the left is the current-gen cover, on the left is the next-gen


NBA 2K21 will have just two editions.

The Standard Edition will be £59.99, with a next-gen price of £64.99 when those consoles arrive.

The Mamba Forever Edition will be £84.99 and comes with dual access to next-gen consoles too.

We also expect to see some pre-order bonuses for the Mamba Forever Edition that will involve VC or MyTEAM packs/cards.

New animations

In another TikTok teaser, 2K have shown off some of the motion capture work going into new dunk animations.


Behind the scenes at Mocap #NBA2K21 ????

♬ original sound – nba2k

It looks like dominating your opponent will be even better this year!

Career Mode

In the current generation of sports games, offline titles seem to be a thing of the past, with many players opting to tackle the challenges of the online modes.

Idris Elba featured in NBA 2K20's career mode

However, that is not the case for 2K. They continue to produce top-end Career Mode’s year after year, meaning fans simply can’t stay away!

READ MORE: NBA 2K20 has the best career mode you’ll ever play

This year’s mode was the best to date by far. Star names such as Idris Elba and LeBron James lent their voice to characters in the SpringHill produced ‘When The Lights Are Brightest’ MyCAREER.

While the storyline and career progression in this year’s mode was incredible, there are still areas to improve, starting with those darn microtransactions!


There’s nothing but potential behind NBA 2K21 as a next-gen debut.

Because of this, we have some pretty big asks across our wishlists for the game. These include changes to MyGM, MyTEAM, MyLEAGUE, MyCAREER, Park/Neighborhood, and maybe even the inclusion of an NCAA game mode.

If 2K Games can pull even a few of these off, this game could be the best in the series.

READ MORE: Real Opinions – NBA 2K21 could be the best yet with these changes


Another largely successful game mode in the NBA 2K series, including the most recent NBA 2K20, is the squad building MyTEAM.

NBA 2K20's MyTeam

It has had its fair share of controversy last year. In order to encourage participation, players are rewarded with mini-games such as drop the ball or spin the wheel.

Combining these casino-style mini-games with the ability to spend real money to purchase packs in an attempt to better your team has caused outrage amongst the community, who believe that 2K are promoting gambling to a young audience. Could we see these mini-games removed in 2K21?

READ MORE: NBA 2K20 MyTeam tips & tricks

There are certainly a lot of microtransactions in MyTEAM, meaning it is tough for casual players to compete with those willing to invest some extra money into the game. It’s not uncommon, but with the game alone priced at £59.99 for the standard edition or £89.99 for the legend edition on release, there shouldn’t be a need to pay big amounts of money for success.


MyGM is a unique game mode for the NBA 2K series with a lot of potential. Unfortunately that potential simply wasn’t delivered on in NBA 2K20.

nba 2k21 mygm chit chat gm mode next gen

MyGM in NBA 2K20 picked up a collection of frustrating features and boring mechanics. But with some reshaping, this could be one of the most popular game modes in the series.

READ MORE: NBA 2K20: MyTEAM Guide – How to win without spending big

MyGM in NBA 2K20 relies on a “chit-chat” system to retain every talent in your organization from scouts to coaches to players. It includes some of the worst dialogue ever written into a major sports franchise with lines like “Oceans or lakes…WHO YA GOT?”

With some adjustment, MyGM has a bright future in NBA 2K21.

NBA 2K21 on next-gen

2K has built NBA 2K21 from the ground up for next-gen consoles.

That means that some features won’t be supported on current-gen machines.

What does that mean? Well it suggests that while the game will be complete and enjoyable on PS4 or Xbox One, it will be greatly enhanced on PS5 & Xbox Series X.

The new PlayStation 5 logo
NEXT GEN: What do the new consoles mean for NBA 2K?

Even with backwards compatibility for Xbox players, in order to enjoy next-gen gameplay you will need to buy the next-gen version.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about next-gen consoles

That’s why we recommend pre-ordering the Mamba Forever Edition to get the best of both worlds!

Feel the game with Haptic Feedback

Let’s not forget that the PS5 is more than just the console. It comes with a game-changing DualSense Controller.

Amongst many features, it has ‘haptic feedback’ (vibration) which works to simulate in-game actions.

Players could well get to experience the feeling of running, shooting and dribbling like never before with NBA 2K21 on PS5.


As we mentioned in our NBA Live preview piece, a feature which would be massive for 2K21 would be the ability to game, either socially or competitively, against users on other platforms.

NBA 2K21 Zion Williamson Hype Still from PS5 Teaser Trailer
COMING IN STRONG: Zion is the favorite for the cover after his trailer appearance

Epic Games, the developers of our game of the year, Fortnite, revolutionised gaming with their addition of cross-platform gaming, could 2K21 be the start of cross-platform gaming on sports titles?

Only time will tell.

The post *UPDATED* NBA 2K21: Release Date REVEALED, Kobe Bryant Cover, Next-Gen Cover, Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson, Pre-Orders, New Animations, MyTeam, Wishlist, Editions, Price, PS5, Xbox Series X, Soundtrack & more appeared first on RealSport.

About the Author: Jose Brewer

As the leading voice behind TechHX.com, I'm Jose Brewer, a tech enthusiast and seasoned writer, passionate about unraveling the complexities of the latest technology for my readers. My journey in the tech world began with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, which opened the doors to a dynamic career in software development. This hands-on experience in the tech industry has been the cornerstone of my writing, allowing me to bring a rich depth of knowledge to my articles.

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