Giannis Antetokounmpo named NBA 2K19 cover athlete

Being on the cover of a video game is a badge of validation for most athletes, and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s time has come.

The two-time NBA All-Star was announced as the official cover athlete for NBA 2K19’s Standard Edition on Monday in his hometown of Athens.

As he’s done several times in the league, Antetokounmpo made history once again by becoming the first international player to grace the cover of NBA 2K.

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“I am honored to be the first international player featured on the cover of NBA 2K19,” Antetokounmpo said in a news release. “I love playing NBA 2K so this means a lot to me. I have worked hard to earn recognition in the NBA and being on the cover of NBA 2K19 is a dream come true.”

The cover features key words and phrases that are significant to Antetokounmpo, such as “Father’s Legacy,” “Fear the Deer,” “MVP” and even “6 Steps,” referencing the number of steps it takes him to get from one side of the court to the other.

Last season, Antetokounmpo had a career year for the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 26.9 points, 10 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. He also became the first player in NBA history to finish a season ranked in the top-20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. That stat alone, combined with his insane athletic ability is the reason why he’s earned the nickname “The Greek Freak.”

“Giannis is the future of the NBA and his drive and athleticism have made him an undeniable force in the league,” Vice President of Marketing for NBA 2K Alfie Brody explained in a news release. “He’s the perfect cover athlete and we’re excited to feature him as our very first international cover star, as NBA 2K has a strong following with fans all over the world.”

In the official trailer for the video game, Antetokounmpo’s mother narrates her son’s journey in reverse order starting from his insane dunk over Tim Hardaway Jr. to his days as “just a boy with a name, a name that today is known by the world.”

Antetokounmpo’s career has been phenomenal so far, improving his scoring and rebounding in every season since his rookie year, and the pressure is on him to take the Bucks to a higher level next season.

The NBA 2K19 Standard Edition will be available on Sept. 11, for $59.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Windows PC platforms.

The NBA 2K19 20th Anniversary Edition, which features LeBron James as the cover athlete, will be available on Sept. 7 for $99.99 for the same platforms mentioned above.

Players looking to get a head start on NBA 2K’s popular MyCAREER can download the all-new NBA 2K19: The Prelude beginning on Aug. 31, available to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 users.