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Kyrie Irving is NBA 2K18’s cover athlete

Following in LeBron’s footsteps, Irving will be featured on the popular title’s cover.

Kyrie Irving has taken advantage of the Cavaliers rise to prominence by becoming one of the most popular players in the league, and it’s manifested itself in a new way: he was announced as the cover athlete for this year’s iteration of the NBA 2K franchise, NBA 2K18.

This is a smart move for 2K and it represents just how huge Kyrie has become. He was fifth this season in jersey sales with Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Russ Westbrook in front of him, so his star has expanded far beyond Cleveland.

It makes sense. Irving’s style is crowd-pleasing. He’s got perhaps the best handles in league history, and nobody spins it up on the backboard on layups in a more aesthetically pleasing way.

Irving may receive scrutiny for a long time about his uninspiring advanced metrics and subpar defense, but it’s pretty clear that he’s already succeeded in the court of public opinion, and the 2K franchise was wise to capitalize.