In recent years, the internet has declared that a new sports cover curse is upon us: The NBA 2K curse. Many gamers and fans have argued if the curse is legitimate, and I’m here to tell you it isn’t.
Similar to the Madden curse, the 2K revolves around something bad happening to the cover athlete or his team after the cover revealed. In 2K’s case, the cover player leaves the team whose jersey he is wearing on the cover. This began with NBA 2K14, featuring James on the cover in a Miami Heat uniform, released in October 2013. In the summer of 2014, James left the Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Below is a look at the NBA 2K cover athletes and the aftermath, starting with 2K14.
NBA 2K14: LeBron James; left Heat following season
NBA 2K15: Kevin Durant; left Thunder after 2 seasons
NBA 2K16: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis; all players stayed
NBA 2K17: Paul George; left Pacers following season
NBA 2K18: Kyrie Irving, left Cavaliers less than a month before 2K18 dropped
NBA 2K19: Giannis Antetokounmpo; scheduled for free agency in summer of 2021
Twitter trolls and other various people are claiming that the curse is already in effect for 2K19. While Giannis Antetokounmpo is the official cover athlete, LeBron James is the cover athlete of the 20th anniversary special edition of the game. To me, this is a massive reach.
This will make only the fourth year that 2K has released a special edition of the game, and all four players on said covers have been legends. Michael Jordan (2K16), Kobe Bryant (2K17), Shaquille O’Neal (2K18), and now LeBron James. The only difference here is that LeBron is still an active player. He is still a legend, and very deserving of the 20th anniversary cover. James is not the regular version cover athlete, and isn’t even shown in uniform on the special edition cover. Only his face is shown (see below).
This ‘curse’ is bogus for many other reasons. Namely, the player isn’t cursed by leaving the team. LeBron James won a title in Cleveland after leaving Miami. Kevin Durant won two titles in Golden State after leaving Oklahoma City. Kyrie Irving became the focal point of the Eastern Conference’s top seed last season.
The team being left by these cover athletes haven’t been cursed, either. The Pacers improved greatly after swapping Victor Oladipo for Paul George. The Thunder saw Russell Westbrook blossom to his absolute peak, averaging a triple double in back-to-back seasons and winning an MVP in the process. The Cavs still went to the NBA Finals without Kyrie.
Considering Durant’s departure part of the curse is another laughable stretch. KD left two years after appearing in a Thunder jersey on the cover of NBA 2K15. What’s next. Giannis has three years left on his current deal. If he leaves in 2021, is that part of the curse? No, it just isn’t. Stop reaching.
Next, a curse is something that cannot be controlled. According to Oxford, a curse is something “intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.” If 2K wanted to, they could simply pick cover athletes that are locked into long contracts, such as Giannis. Russell Westbrook or Steph Curry would be easy choices as well. You just know these guys aren’t going anywhere in the near future, based on their contract and the success they’ve had on their current teams.
In conclusion, there is no NBA 2K cover athlete curse. Moreover, Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t going anywhere. He will play the next three seasons in a Bucks uniform. He can’t leave in free agency until 2021, and he isn’t getting traded. There’s no universe where he would be moved. The Madden curse is real, the 2K curse isn’t. Move on.
What do you think about the NBA 2K curse? Is it real? Would you want the best player of your favorite NBA team to grace the cover? Let us know in the comment section below.
Frye is a multimedia journalist for SGO and several other news outlets. He also writes about both professional and fantasy sports. Frye earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State University in 2016. Frye has been working in journalism for over 10 years, and is a lifelong, diehard fan of teams that you definitely don't like.