Gaming, Houston Rockets

James Harden named cover athlete for NBA Live 18

Coming off an MVP-caliber season, James Harden is the face of EA Sports’ NBA game which is making a return to consoles after a year hiatus.

Though James Harden lost out to Russell Westbrook in the league MVP voting for last season, Harden came away with a consolation prize on Thursday when EA Sports released its selection as him as the cover athlete for NBA Live 18.

Besides Harden’s image plastered all over everything, there are many new facets to the title’s return to consoles, including a career mode entitled, “The One.” Players will choose between “the streets” or “the league” in this mode. Choosing the streets will allow players to participate in 5-on-5 games in venues all over the world. Choosing the league will include commentary from ESPN’s Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith on a player’s development. In-game commentary from Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen will be included as well. The game will also feature the league’s new Nike uniforms.

The game will be released on September 19, though customers who pre-order will have access to the game on September 15. To increase hype for the product, a demo available in the Playstation Store and Xbox Live will be available on Friday, August 11.

Harden was featured on the NBA 2k16 cover with Anthony Davis and Steph Curry, but this is his first solo video game cover. His brand has been rising steadily, throughout the past regular season when he averaged 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game to signing a four-year, $228 million extension with the Houston Rockets in July.

Fans will have to wait until this winter to see how Harden and Rockets acquisition Chris Paul will co-exist on the real court, but gamers can start to work that combination a few months early with the NBA Live 18 versions of Paul and the cover athlete, Harden.

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