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Who was the best cover athlete on any sports games?


Well everyone, the 2K12 cover is out and it looks like Jordon, Bird, and Magic will be sharing the cover this year around. We all saw what MJ did when he was on the cover of 2K11. Now they are taking arguably, the three greatest players to ever play the game and putting them together. All I can say is that this game has got to be on your radar and if it isn’t, it should be. This leads me into my discussion today. Who was the greatest cover athlete to grace any sports game cover?

Now, before I begin writing I want everyone to know that this is going to be a very broad topic as there are a multitude of games ranging from boxing, football, soccer, basketball, and baseball with all other sports included. Since, that is the case I suggest that we focus on just basketball and football since I’m pretty much a fan of those two sports. Frankly, to get the point I have to say that MJ aka Michael Jordon is the greatest cover athlete to ever grace a sports game cover. Say what you will, but I have to say that he has proven on and off the court to be the emotional and physical embodiment of what basketball is. Even if you have never seen him play, you have heard the legend.

The fact of the matter is that this cannot be denied. His presence was marked on the gaming world with NBA2K11. The game received critical acclaim and is considered one of the greatest basketball titles to ever be created. The game featured a mode where it allowed you to play key moments in legendary games as “The Great One” himself. I don’t know what  more can be said for a game that has accrued over 4.2 million units sold since it original launch date.

Is it the game itself or is it the man on the cover? I have to say in my personal opinion that it is the man on the cover that makes the game. Michael Jordon stands for the greatness of basketball and with this title and him on the cover, greatness was given and well received. Let’s see how the star power of 3 legendary greats translates into sales for the next iteration of 2K.

The person that I hold in distant second to being one of the greatest athletes to grace a cover of a sports game is Michael Vick. Yes, you read that correctly Michael Vick. The game as you may have imagined was Madden 2004, which whether you like Madden or not, was great in its own right. The game received the highest honor it could have received with  it winning “Game of the Year” honors at  the Spike video game awards in 2003. Micheal Vick was phenomenal on the cover helping to push the game to over 4 million in sales which if you read above was about the same  amount of sales for 2K11 give or take a few hundred thousands.

Its not to say that Madden hasn’t always had a huge fan base, but the numbers are clear. Vick had an impact on the sales. He was a mastermind QB with the speed of a running back when he was on the field for Atlanta. You never knew when he would drop back to pass or take off with the dogs on his heels. One thing is clear though, Michael Vick on the cover of Madden packed a huge punch when it was released.

The game was well received by critics at the time achieving universal acclaim as well as being well liked by fans. It seems to have ushered in a new Madden age of gaming and everyone loved what they played. Who do you feel deserves the title of greatest sports cover athlete of all time?

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  • Fredolopez

    Blake Griffin on NCAA 2010 + Landon Donovan on FIFA 03 + Oscar De La Hoya on Fight Night (PS cover was the best!). Hard to choose w/ Madden. NBA it’s between Kobe + Kevin Garnett…