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J. Cole Becomes First Rapper to Land NBA 2K Cover

The award-winning MC is the cover star of NBA 2K23‘s DREAMER Edition, and will additionally feature on the soundtrack and in the game’s MyCAREER mode.

For the first time in NBA 2K history, a rapper will grace the cover of the game. Fayetteville, North Carolina native J. Cole will be the cover star for NBA 2K23’s DREAMER Edition that will release exclusively at GameStop on next-gen consoles (PlayStation 5 and XBox Series X|S) in the US and Canada.

Additionally, Cole and two of his frequent Dreamville collaborators, Bas and Elite, will be featured in 2K’s popular MyCAREER mode. 

J. Cole is certainly no stranger to the game of basketball. He played at St. John’s University from 2003-07 and has been active in the sport in the last two years. The Dreamville head honcho made his professional debut in the Basketball Africa League for the Patriots Basketball Club in 2021, playing three games. Earlier this year, Cole laced up his kicks in Canada to play four games for the Scarborough Shooting Stars.

NBA 2K has long been a place to discover new musical talent through their game and continues to be a gold standard for showcasing all things basketball culture,” J. Cole said in an official release. “It’s been an amazing journey to not only appear on a cover of this year’s game, but to be part of the MyCAREER storyline and soundtrack. There’s also more to come, so watch out for the heat that Dreamville Records and the DREAMER brand brings to the game during Seasons and for Dreamville’s Bas and Elite in this year’s MyCAREER story.”

Regarding the soundtrack, NBA 2K23 will include artists like Drake, Lil Baby, 21 Savage, JID, Jack Harlow, Doja Cat, Kaytranada, Joey Bada$$, and Baby Tate, plus the stars of Dreamville.

This marks the latest collaboration for the DREAMER brand following a recent partnership with Puma on a collection of footwear and apparel. When a group including Fanatics, Jay-Z, and Maverick Carter bought Mitchell & Ness in February, DREAMER and Mitchell & Ness released special edition jerseys that Cole sported on tour following the release of his album, The Off-Season

Artists included on the NBA 2K23 soundtrack (Image courtesy of 2K Games)

2K Games said in a release that this year’s MyCAREER mode will include “the largest and most involved storyline in franchise history. The mode will begin after the NBA Draft, players will be faced with obstacles such as managing their career through music, fashion and business.

As Alfie Brody, Vice President of Global Marketing Strategy at NBA 2K, said on the occasion:

“The sheer scale, depth and talent featured in this year’s MyCAREER creates an unparalleled experience within NBA 2K23. At the top of that list of talent is our first cover star who truly sits at the intersection of basketball and music. Bringing a visionary like J. Cole into the creative process for both the game and the soundtrack showcases the pillar of culture that NBA 2K23 has become.” 

With J. Cole’s big reveal, NBA 2K23 now features Michael Jordan, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi and Devin Booker as its official cover stars. The game releases worldwide on Sept. 9.


Missed J. Cole’s appearance on Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast with Kevin Durant? Click here to listen and download.

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