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NBA 2K12 to feature Jordan, Magic and Bird covers

NBA 2K12's covers - Click to enlarge! - 2K Sports

How do you top having the best basketball player ever grace your NBA video game box?

Give him some worthy competition.

On Thursday, 2K Sports revealed a trio of cover athletes for their upcoming basketball sim NBA 2K12 -- and for basketball fans, it's a doozie: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. But rather than try to cram that much competitive ego on one cover, 2K will create three separate boxes, one for each legend. Fans can then decide which version to pick up based on which player they prefer to stare at most.

"We're bringing His Airness back to the NBA 2K franchise again as part of a three-year extended partnership, along with two other legendary icons - Larry Bird and Magic Johnson - for a special cover athlete collection representing some of the NBA's greatest heroes," confirmed Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports.

The swirling, smoky covers -- which were created by Emmy-nominated designer Adam Larson -- are pretty striking. Jordan is soaring in for a dunk, Bird's hoisting a fadeaway, and Magic, well, not too sure about that one. Junior, junior skyhook, maybe? Except he shot that wearing his away colors and awesome yellow Converse 'Weapons'. A no-look pass might have been the way to go, but who are we to criticize?

Considered by many to be among the best basketball games ever made, last year's title dove astonishingly deep with the Jordan goodies, providing 10 insanely difficult challenges based on some of Michael's most indelible games along with a full Jordan career mode that let players guide him from young gun to old champ. 2K Sports isn't talking yet about whether or not gamers can expect similar player-specific modes in the new game, but here's hoping.

The game's set for release on October 4th -- roughly one month before the planned start of the 2012 NBA season, although with a lockout threatening to derail it, a virtual season might be the only ones fans will get this year.

-- Play Bricks Breaking II on Yahoo! Games --

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