Between the growing hype for the NBA 2k League and the recent shake-ups in the NBA Free Agency the National Basketball Association has been producing quite a few headlines as of late. Perhaps the most unexpected of all the news is the fact that for the first time in history, NBA 2k19 will feature Ben Simmons as NBA 2k’s first Australian specific cover Athlete. Ben Simmons, the star guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, is the ideal choice seeing as he was born in Melbourne Australia and lived there for half of his life. When asked how he felt about the decision Simmons said, “The Aussie fans are super passionate about basketball and specifically NBA 2K, so it's very cool to be an ambassador for both.”
The decision is ultimately a move that virtually nobody saw coming and at this point, many are unsure of what 2k has planned for other releases going forward. A good guess would be that NBA 2k is looking to be more inclusive to the global market. As many avid basketball fans will note, the NBA has recently increased their number of international players quite drastically. Years ago Basketball was primarily popular in the United States and the United States alone. However, Basketball has become more and more popular around the world and it’s a fact that has become more and more noticeable come NBA Draft time. Last year the league contained 108 players from 42 different countries so there is no doubt that the popularity of basketball is reaching far outside simply the United States. It is likely for this reason that 2k Studios is looking to cater to the increasing number of basketball fans outside of the United States.
The upcoming Australian cover for NBA 2k and even the decision to make Greek born Giannis Antetokounmpo the official Cover athlete for 2k19 are likely all attempts to please international fans. At this point, we can expect that if this special cover does anything to increase sales then we will likely be seeing a lot more alternate cover athletes from around the world.