Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five players that you may not recall appearing on a game cover.
Although cover players have no bearing on the quality of basketball video games – some of the best releases have featured unpopular choices in that regard – they’re still one of the first things that we picture when we think of specific games. Enthusiastic basketball gamers will most likely be able to name the cover player of any given title they’re familiar with, at least when it comes to the main face of the game. Things get trickier when it comes to the international versions, where regional cover players are used to appeal to the local market.
In recent years, announcing and promoting regional/alternate covers has become a bigger part of the preview season. Several years ago, however, those covers weren’t always well-known outside of the markets that received them, with some flying under the radar for many years. As such, one can be forgiven for thinking that some of them are bootlegs or the work of Photoshop, but physical copies of the games prove that they’re legitimate. Although these versions are usually identical to the main release – except their language in some cases – there’s a certain novelty to them, making them sought-after collectibles. Of course, tracking them down often isn’t cheap or easy.