LeBron James is an easy choice to put on your NBA video game cover. Pinning down a jersey for the potential free agent to wear is a much tougher decision — so 2K Sports ditched it altogether.
James will appear on the cover of NBA 2K19, but his appearance will be limited to a tightly cropped headshot surrounded by nicknames and tag lines.
That’s … a pretty smart call, actually. James is instantly recognizable by his face alone, and cropping out the rest of his body eliminates the need to show him in uniform, whether that’s a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey or someone else’s. And you have to consider the latter option, because there’s a very real chance James leaves Ohio this summer.
The future Hall of Famer will face a difficult choice this offseason. He can opt in to a $35.6 million payday for the final season of a three-year deal signed with Cleveland in 2016 and try to bring his home region another NBA title. Or, he can opt-out and become a free agent, where every team with $35-plus million in salary cap space will be waiting to woo him.
That means James could be playing his upcoming season — the season featured in NBA 2K19 in the Sixers red, white, and blue, Lakers purple and gold, Bulls red and white, or some other enterprising team’s colors. Rather than deal with that hassle or create a cache of jersey inserts customers could slide over James’ Cavs jersey, the company decided to avoid the problem altogether. LeBron doesn’t wear any team colors on his face.