Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker, Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi on NBA 2K23 covers

Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi, left, and Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird grace the cover of NBA 2K23. (Photo courtesy of NBA 2K)

PHOENIX — The news that Devin Booker and Diana Taurasi have been selected as cover athletes for the NBA 2K23 video game has inspired praise — and trepidation — for Valley sports fans.

The Suns and Mercury stars were the first Arizona athletes to land on cover since former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was featured on Madden NFL 10, along with the Steelers safety of Pittsburgh Troy Polamalu, after Super Bowl XLIII.

“The selection process for NBA 2K cover athletes is a thoughtful process, one that considers their impact both on and off the court,” said Alfie Brody, Vice President of Global Marketing for the NBA franchise. NBA 2K games. “NBA 2K cover athletes demonstrate elite play on the court and are great representatives of NBA 2K off the court. This year’s athletes represent a mix of some of the greatest athletes to have played the game and rising stars.

So why the apprehension? For those superstitious, an array of athletes, from LeBron James and Kevin Durant to Paul George and Kyrie Irving, left their teams after their NBA 2K cover picks were announced.

The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker may not fall victim to the so-called “curse” that has dogged cover athletes ever since he recently signed a major contract extension. (Photo courtesy of NBA 2K)

The good news for Valley fans is that Booker recently signed a four-year, $224 million supermax contract extension. Taurasi, however, still has to make a decision this offseason: retire, stay with the Mercury, or look elsewhere as a free agent.

Booker was selected as the cover athlete for the standard edition of NBA 2K23, while Taruasi was chosen for the WNBA edition, along with Seattle Storm star Sue Bird.

Booker is widely regarded as one of the best players in the NBA, as he led the Suns to an NBA Finals appearance in the 2021 season at just 24 years old. Taurasi is considered by many to be the greatest WNBA player of all time.

Some criticized Booker’s selection, suggesting he didn’t deserve coverage after a Game 7 blowout against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2022 Western Conference Semifinals, in which Booker scored 11 points on 3 shots out of 14.

Booker was delighted with the selection.

“It’s a dream come true to see me on the cover of NBA 2K,” he said in a press release. “I’ve been a huge NBA 2K fan since I was a kid, and it’s surreal to finally join the exclusive club of basketball greats who have been cover athletes.

“I am also honored to share this year’s covers with the iconic Michael Jordan, who changed the game for all players who followed him, as well as two of the WNBA’s all-time GOATs, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who continue to have a huge impact on the game.

NBA 2K feels good about its cover choices, Brody said.

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“Devin Booker’s rise from budding talent to flamboyant marksman in recent seasons has established him as one of the league’s brightest stars and, more importantly, propelled his team into the consecutive years in the playoffs,” he said. “In addition to his passion for competing for NBA 2K, Booker inspires people with his silky on-court sweater and philanthropic efforts in the community, which is why he’s the perfect choice to be NBA’s cover athlete. 2K23.”

The decision to have Taurasi and Bird on the cover was also easy, Brody said.

“Taurasi was elected in 2021 as the WNBA’s GOAT and has dominated the league for nearly two decades,” he said. “As the leader of the Phoenix Mercury, she lifted the championship trophy three times and is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer. The impact both athletes have had on the basketball court and in the wider community makes Diana and Sue a clear choice for NBA 2K23 WNBA Edition coverage.

In a statement, Taurasi said, “There are so many kids who dream of pursuing a career in professional basketball, and now they can also dream of being on the cover of NBA 2K, whether they want to play in NBA or WNBA.”

Valley fans can also cherish this dream and hope that Taurasi will finish his career in Phoenix.

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