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Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the history of international cover players for various basketball video games.

Cover players are an aspect of basketball gaming that has become more important over time. The player on the box and the title screen may not always have much of an impact on the game beyond pre-order cosmetic items in career modes and a card in the team building modes, but they’re nevertheless a talking point. After all, the reveal of the cover player generally signifies the beginning of a new game’s preview season, tipping off weeks and months of discussion about what we’re hoping to see from an upcoming release.

As basketball games have increased in popularity, cover players have become selling points and an indication of a game’s brand strength, if not necessarily its quality. Both EA Sports and 2K Sports have sought to appeal to local markets with regional covers that feature a player from the country in question (or in a pinch, have some connection with said nation). They’ve resulted in the international editions of games becoming collector’s items due to their novelty, and are of course interesting trivia notes. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How Danilo Gallinari Became My Least Favourite Teammate

Danilo Gallinari in a MyCAREER game in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Playing through MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, I’ve learned a few things. One, never underestimate the importance of Badges; they really help give your player an extra boost. Two, when you’re a point guard playing for the Denver Nuggets and you’re looking to rack up a lot of assists, Justice Young and Kenneth Faried will happily oblige with baskets on catch-and-shoot and pick-and-roll opportunities respectively. And three, getting on the Italian cover of NBA 2K17 has clearly gone to Danilo Gallinari’s head…well, his virtual counterpart’s head, at any rate.

Halfway through my rookie season, the Nuggets are clearly the Orange Juice show. Yes, that still sounds a bit silly to say, but the point is, Justice and I have clearly taken over, and the team is thriving as a result. It seems that Danilo Gallinari didn’t get the memo though, because his play and attitude in practice and in games seems to suggest that he believes himself to be the star of the team. He still plays his role and he hasn’t cost us any games – yet, anyway – but there are times when it feels like he’s keen to impeach The President of Basketball. I have nothing against the real Gallo, but in MyCAREER, he’s become my least favourite teammate.

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