For the cover of its pro basketball franchise, publisher 2K Sports has turned to "His Airness."
The publisher has confirmed Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan will appear on the cover of NBA 2K11 when it releases on October 5.
"It's an honor to be featured on the cover of NBA 2K11," Jordan said in a statement. "I have no doubt that NBA 2K11 will be a big hit with gamers and basketball fans alike. I'm looking forward to getting back out onto the court, virtually. Let's hope they get my dunk from the foul line right."
Jordan's appearance in any sports title is a rare occurrence. NBA licensing deals did not include rights to use the Bulls icon's likeness, so many NBA simulations during his playing career often featured a generic player in his place. Among some of the games Jordan appeared in: NES title Jordan vs. Bird: One on One and SNES game Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City.
Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports, says developers have discussed adding Jordan to the game for years, but it wasn't until 2K11 that a partnership came together.
"We're very confident that this year ... will not only be the best basketball game we've ever put out, but the best basketball game that's ever been put out," Argent said in an interview. "When you start thinking about people that can accurately represent that in the game of basketball, the list is short. And, frankly, the greatest basketball player of all time seemed to be the greatest fit."
Argent did not go into detail on how Jordan will be used in NBA 2K11, which usually reflects the upcoming NBA season. However, he did say Jordan will play an "integral part" in the game's variety of options, and offered input into the development of his virtual persona.