By Eli Blumenthal, USA TODAY
It would not be a stretch to say Kyrie Irving’s past few weeks have been pretty good.
Fresh off helping lead his Cleveland Cavaliers past the Boston Celtics in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals last week, including an incredible 42-point performance in Game 4, the 25-year old Cavs point guard can add another accolade to his list: cover star for the best-selling video game NBA 2K.
On the eve of the Cavs showdown with the Warriors in the NBA Finals, Irving Thursday was given thehonor of being named the cover for NBA 2K18, the newest iteration of Take-Two Interactive’s popular basketball video game.
“The opportunity that’s at hand, to be able to grace the cover of 2K, some of the greatest athletes that have played our game have been on this cover, I’m just glad I just joined that lineage,” says Irving. Recent versions of the game have featured a “who’s who” of past and present NBA greats: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and of, course, Irving’s teammate, LeBron James.
An avid gamer, Irving is no stranger to video game covers, gracing the cover of EA Sports’ rival NBA Live 14 in 2013, one of a select few to be featured on both games. “Watching 2K evolve into this incredible, incredible game that has great gameplay… it was a no-brainer,” to take on being the cover star.
Irving sheepishly admits that he plays seemingly “every day,” with very specific rules when playing with friends: Six-minute quarters, no fatigue, a choice of three randomly selected teams (with an option for a fourth random team that you can’t switch from if you aren’t happy with your first three choices) and a five-game series amongst those teams. His “go-to” team? Not his Cavs or the rival Warriors but the Chicago Bulls. “Jimmy Butler is an animal in that game.”
“The Cavs and Warriors are almost… they’re one and two,” says Irving. “If it’s not Cavs and Warriors matching up then it’s almost like unfair in 2K.”
As for his prediction for the real-life battle set to take place between those two teams on Thursday night, Irving’s pick is clear and unsurprising. “Cavs,” says Irving with a laugh. “Just Cavs.”