Damian Lillard has played ‘NBA2K’ for decades. Now he’s on the cover

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is one of the cover athletes for the "NBA2K21" video game.
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Damian Lillard grew up playing “NBA 2K,” so he knows it’s a big deal to appear on the cover of one of the yearly editions of the popular video game.

“The way that you recognize it is by, you know, AI was on that cover or Kobe was on that cover,” Lillard recently told Stadium’s Shams Charania.

And now there’s a generation of gamers who might say of the upcoming “NBA2K21”: “Dame was on that cover.”


Game developer 2K announced Tuesday that the Portland Trail Blazers star will be featured on the cover of the game for current-generation console players. Two other yet-to-be-revealed players will appear on the next-generation version and Legends edition of the game.

“Just to join that group and have that honor, man, it’s cool. Real cool,” Lillard said of receiving the cover honor bestowed on Allen Iverson for the first five editions of the game (1999-2004) and Kobe Bryant for “NBA2K10.”

Lillard was selected sixth overall by Portland in the 2012 draft and was chosen rookie of the year that season. He’s a five-time All-Star and is the first member of the Trail Blazers to appear on an “NBA2K” cover.

Athletes as rappers is nothing new, but Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, a.k.a. Dame D.O.L.L.A., has a commitment to the craft that sets him apart. He has his own label, Front Page Music, and in August released his third commercial album, “Big D.O.L.L.A.,” which features popular artists Lil Wayne, Jeremih and Mozzy. He also has a feud going with Shaquille O’Neal.

“I made it,” he said. “I’m going to be on the cover of ‘2K.’ ”