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The release of "NBA 2K21" is right around the corner, and we"ll be explaining everything you need to know about the basketball video game.

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2K has emerged as the fan favorite video game for NBA fans over the past few years. In fact, 2K has such an edge over EA Sports" NBA Live that there will be no NBA Live this year. 2K revolutionized sports video games with its in-depth MyCareer game mode, and we"ve seen other games copy a similar formula in recent years.

But while 2K has dominated the market, the video game makers also know they need to improve. So NBA 2K21 will have some new features and improved gameplay, which we"ll get into below. It"s also worth pointing out 2K will be available on the next-gen consoles when Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 release this holiday season.

Now that we"ve covered the basics, let"s get into what you"ll get when you buy NBA 2K21.

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NBA 2K21 release date

NBA 2K21 will be released on on September 4, 2020. The next-gen versions of the game will be released at launch along with the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Microsoft and Sony have not yet announced official dates for either console release, but both are planned to debut in late November. When the new consoles are available, so will the release of the next-gen versions of NBA 2K21.

NBA 2K21 editions and price

There are technically four editions of NBA 2K21 this year. There is a Standard Edition and Mamba Forever Edition that go along with the current generation of consoles. And then there will be a Standard Edition and Mamba Forever Edition for the next-gen consoles. Each edition features its own unique cover. Damian Lillard will grace the Standard Edition on the current generation while Zion Williamson is featured on the Standard Edition of the next-gen version. Kobe Bryant is featured on both Mamba Forever Edition covers.

As for what you get with each edition, we"ll break that down below.

Standard Edition — Current Gen

Price: $59.99

What you get:

5,000 Virtual Currency5,000 MyTEAM Points10 MyTEAM Promo packs (delivered one a week)9 MyCAREER Skill Boosts5 pair Shoe CollectionDamian Lillard Digital CollectionLillard MyTEAM Free Agent CardCustom Lillard MyPLAYER T-shirtTissot Chrono XL NBA Watch for MyPLAYER

Mamba Forever Edition — Current Gen

Price: $99.99

What you get:

100,000 Virtual Currency10,000 MyTEAM Points10 MyTEAM Tokens60 MyCAREER Skill Boosts30 Gatorade Boosts40 MyTEAM Promo Packs (10 at launch, then 3 per week)Sapphire Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson MyTEAM cardsMyPLAYER Shoe CollectionMyPLAYER backpackKobe Bryant Digital Collection5 MyPLAYER Shoes3 MyPLAYER JerseysBlack Mamba MyPLAYER UniformRookie Lakers MyTEAM JerseysBlack Mamba custom MyTEAM JerseysSapphire Kobe MyTEAM Card (Evos to Ruby)5 MyTEAM Shoes (Incl. 1 Diamond)

You also receive the Damian Lillard Digital Collection in the Mamba Forever Edition.

Standard Edition — Next Gen

Price: $69.99

What you get:

5,000 Virtual Currency5,000 MyTEAM Points10 MyTEAM Promo packs (delivered one a week)9 MyCAREER Skill Boosts5 pair Shoe CollectionZion Williamson Digital CollectionZion MyTEAM Free Agent CardZion New Orleans Pelicans MyPLAYER JerseyZion MyPLAYER Dunk Animation Package

Mamba Forever Edition — next gen

Price: $99.99

What you get: Same as the current generation, except you get the Zion Williamson Digital Collection instead of the Damian Lillard Digital Collection.

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How to upgrade NBA 2K21 to next gen

There"s good news and bad news for people who want to upgrade NBA 2K from the current generation to the next generation. The good news is it"s possible to do so without having to buy the game twice. The bad news is it"s not possible if you buy the Standard Edition. If you want to upgrade NBA 2K21 from the current generation to the next generation, you must buy the Mamba Forever Edition.

It"s also worth pointing out you can only upgrade to next gen if you stay within the console family (PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5 or Xbox one to Xbox Series X). You"ll also receive the Zion Williamson Digital Collection at no extra cost once you upgrade to the next gen version of the game. This offer is available through both physical copies of the game and digital copies.

Some additional bad news is your MyPLAYER Inventory and progress will not transfer in the next-gen switch.

You can find more information about the next gen switch on NBA 2K"s website.

NBA 2K21 covers

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Damian Lillard will be the cover athlete on the current generation of consoles for the Standard Edition of the game. Zion Williamson will take over on the Standard Edition with the release of the next-gen games. Kobe Bryant is featured on both Mamba Forever Edition versions of the game, although he does get two distinct covers. 

NBA 2K21 features, old and new

As of this writing, there hasn"t been much released about what"s new in NBA 2K21. Despite its release being less than a month away, very little has actually been revealed as to what we can expect. While nothing official has been said about this, my guess is the company focused a lot more on the next-gen versions that will release later in the year. And the next-gen versions is where you"ll see the true progress.

One rumored feature, however, is the ability to create a female player for MyCareer. We saw the introduction of the WNBA in NBA 2K20, but fans were upset there wasn"t an ability to further the women"s sport into MyCareer. NBA 2K has not confirmed this rumor, but did hint at more for WNBA fans.

"Well we didn’t want to unveil too much stuff today with new modes, but one thing I will say is that fans of the WNBA are going to be very excited for what we’re bringing to the table with next gen," NBA 2K21 Gameplay Director Mike Wang said in a Q&A on NBA 2KTV.

As far as the features/game modes we can likely expect to see MyCareer, 2K Pro-Am, Playground, MyLeague, MyTeam, Blacktop and Play Now once again.

NBA 2K21 gameplay changes

In its Courtside Report update, 2K says cover star Damian Lillard made some suggestions to improve the game. For instance, your MyCareer player can now reach a maximum height of 6-8, an increase over previous years. Some additional minor updates were included in what 2K calls "fun-ifying" the game.

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Another change is an improvement to the Pro Stick.

Hold RS down = jump shotHold RS left or right = escape dribble movesHold RS up = signature size-upsTap the RS = quick 1-to-1 dribble movesTap the RS with Sprint held = quick momentum dribble moves

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