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NBA 2K21 adds a Kobe Bryant Mamba Forever Edition as game goes on preorder

The hit franchise issues a special edition of its new game to honor the late Lakers legend.

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The next-generation cover for NBA 2K21's Mamba Forever Edition will feature Kobe Bryant in his No. 24 jersey. 

NBA 2K

NBA 2K21 already has two cover athletes -- Damian Lillard for the current generation of consoles and Zion Williamson for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X -- but on Thursday it's adding a third iteration of the game to honor late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant

Called the Mamba Forever Edition, the special copy will be available for both current and next-generation consoles for $100. Covers for the current video systems will feature Bryant in his early No. 8 jersey while the next-gen covers will have Bryant wearing 24, the jersey number he wore in the latter years of his 20-season NBA career.

Bryant was previously the NBA 2K10 cover athlete and also was the cover star for NBA 2K17's Legend edition. The 41-year old NBA superstar, along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others, died earlier this year when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California.  

Beyond the special covers, the Mamba Forever version of the game will include 100,000 VC (NBA 2K's in-game currency), 10 MyTeam tokens, 40 MyTeam packs (10 at launch, with 10 additional packs each week for the next three weeks) and sapphire versions of Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson to be used in the game's MyTeam mode as well as various boosts to be used in the game's MyPlayer mode. 

The Mamba version will also include Kobe-focused perks such as a Sapphire Kobe MyTeam card (that can evolve to Ruby), a Mamba MyPlayer uniform and Black Mamba custom MyTeam jerseys. 

Publisher 2K says that those who purchase the Mamba edition for Xbox One or PlayStation 4 will be able to upgrade for free to the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 version if they make the leap to next-gen, an incentive to buy the special edition game for those already planning to make the jump. 

People buying the regular editions of NBA 2K21 will not get a similar free upgrade to the next-gen versions and will have to buy a new copy, which 2K is pricing at $70 as opposed to the current-generation pricing of $60. 

While the upgrade path isn't completely clear, 2K says it will allow those who build MyTeams or collect the in-game VC currency to transfer their progress from the Xbox One to the Xbox Series X and from the PlayStation 4 to the PlayStation 5. 

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The NBA 2K21 cover athletes. 

NBA 2K

The current-gen, next-gen and Mamba versions of NBA 2K21 are available for preorder on Thursday. The current-generation game launches on Sept. 4 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC and Google Stadia. 

The next-generation versions for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will be available when those respective systems launch this holiday season. 

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