Kobe Bryant helped (officially) introduce Paul George as the face of NBA 2K17

In a repurposed warehouse in Los Angeles’ Arts District Wednesday night, two teams of five competed for a quarter-million dollars in the first-ever NBA 2K16 "Road to the Finals" tournament.

But first, two former Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox, helped (officially) introduce Indiana Pacers forward Paul George as the player who will appear on the cover of NBA 2K17:

George will share some of the 2K limelight with Bryant, who also will appear on select "legend edition" covers of 2K17. The Black Mamba’s cover makes sense, since we’re all still celebrating his career (or his retirement, depending on how you feel about Kobe). What about George, though? If you’re not an NBA diehard, you might be questioning his credentials. Why should he be on the cover?

We asked 2K senior vice president of basketball operations Jason Argent that question, and he explained that George is absolutely a superstar in the eyes of the franchise:

I think he’s an amazing basketball player, and yes, he’s a superstar. […] He’s proven himself over and over and over again. He’s a great pick. He’s a fan of the brand. He’s an amazing basketball player — one of the best. He’s a fan of ours, we’re a fan of him, so it was kind of a natural selection.

If people don’t understand how good George is, that’s on them — but any such ignorance didn’t really impact the decision. Argent said 2K isn’t trying to play "kingmaker" with George. He’s earned the honor. That he enjoys video games, particularly the 2K franchise, made the choice to put him on the cover even easier.

Or, you know — those covers that don’t have Kobe on them, anyway. (By the way, can we request a special "Echo Fox" cover? No? Fine.)