ALEX AMADO Cronkite News
The news that Devin Booker and Diana Taurasi have been selected as cover athletes for the NBA 2K23 video game drew praise – and concern – from Valley sports fans.
The Suns and Mercury standouts became the first Arizona athletes to land on a cover since former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald starred in Madden NFL 10 alongside Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu after Super Bowl XLIII .
“The selection process for NBA 2K cover athletes is a thoughtful process that considers their impact both on and off the court,” said Alfie Brody, vice president of global marketing for the NBA 2K gaming franchise. “NBA 2K Cover Athletes demonstrate quality play on court and are great representatives of NBA 2K off court. This year’s athletes represent a mix of some of the biggest athletes playing the game and rising stars.”
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So why fear? For those who are superstitious, a number of athletes from LeBron James to Kevin Durant to Paul George to Kyrie Irving have left their teams after their NBA 2K cover picks were announced.
The good news for Valley fans is that Booker recently renewed a four-year, $224 million Supermax contract. However, Taurasi has one more decision to make this offseason: quit, stay with Mercury, or look elsewhere as a free agent.
Booker was selected as the cover athlete for the standard edition of NBA 2K23, while Taruasi was selected for the WNBA edition along with Seattle Storm star Sue Bird.
Booker is widely regarded as one of the best players in the NBA, having led the Suns to an NBA Finals in the 2021 season at just 24 years old. Taurasi is considered by many to be the greatest WNBA player of all time.
Some have criticized Booker’s selection, noting that he didn’t deserve the cover after a blowout in Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals, in which Booker scored 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Booker was delighted with the selection.
“It’s a dream to see me on the cover of NBA 2K,” he said in a press release. “I’ve been a huge NBA 2K fan since I was a kid, and it’s surreal to finally join the exclusive club of basketball greats who were cover athletes.
“I’m also honored to share this year’s covers with the legendary Michael Jordan, who changed the game for all players after him, as well as two of the WNBA GOATs of all time, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who continue to do so as well.” have a big impact on the game.”
NBA 2K has a good feeling about cover choices, Brody said.
“Devin Booker’s rise from rising talent to brilliant marksman over the past couple of seasons has established him as one of the brightest stars in the league and, more importantly, guided his team into postseasons in a row,” he said. “Alongside his competitive passion for NBA 2K, Booker inspires people with his silky smooth sweater on court and his philanthropic efforts in the community off court, making him the perfect choice for NBA 2K23’s cover athlete.”
The decision to have Taurasi and Bird on the cover was easy, too, Brody said.
“Taurasi was voted the 2021 GOAT of the WNBA and has dominated the league for nearly two decades,” he said. “As the leader of the Phoenix Mercury, she has lifted the championship trophy three times and is the all-time WNBA leading scorer. The impact both athletes have had on the basketball court and the community at large makes Diana and Sue a clear choice for the cover of the NBA 2K23 WNBA Edition.”
In a statement, Taurasi said, “There are so many kids who dream of pursuing a professional basketball career and they can now dream of being on the NBA 2K cover too, whether they want to play in the NBA or WNBA .”
Valley fans can also cherish that dream and hope Taurasi finishes her career in Phoenix.