June 22, 2010: Another day, another honor for Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Electronic Arts said that Durant, the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 2008 and the league's leading scorer in 2009-2010, would be the cover athlete for the highly anticipated NBA Elite 11.
NBA Elite 11 is currently in development under the EA Sports brand by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C. and will be available worldwide this October for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
Earlier this week, EA Sports said that Jonathan Toews of the NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks would be the cover athlete for the 20th annual edition of NHL 11. Toews helped to lead team Canada to a gold medal during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL playoffs, guiding the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961.
“Durant is a game changer,” Jordan Edelstein, vp-marketing for EA Sports, said in a statement. “There has never been a player his size (6'9", 230) with his skill set, and there has never before been a basketball videogame like NBA Elite 11. Just like we see Durant as the future of the NBA, NBA Elite 11 represents the future of basketball videogames by providing a gameplay experience you simply won’t find anywhere else on the market.”
NBA Elite 11 is highlighted by a unique "hands-on control" that allows for one-on-one responsiveness of a player’s movement and actions on the court. It can be used to manage everything within a player’s offensive and defensive arsenal.
“NBA Elite 11 will give gamers the same skill set that a pro basketball player has at his disposal. This is the first basketball simulation videogame where you are controlling every movement." — EA Sports creative director David Littman
According to David Littman, creative director for EA Sports, “NBA Elite 11 will give gamers the same skill set that a pro basketball player has at his disposal. This is the first basketball simulation videogame where you are controlling every movement, dribble move, shot, dunk, lay-up, steal and block in real time with one-to-one control. You’re no longer going to push a button and watch the computer generate a long animation sequence. It is like being on a basketball court with an amazing set of skills. This is going to change what people have come to expect from a basketball simulation videogame.”
“I’ve always been a fan of EA Sports,” Durant said in a statement. “This has been an exciting year for me and the team, and capping it off with being on the cover of NBA Elite 11 is cool.”
Durant, who will be on the U.S. team playing in the 2010 FIBA World Championship this summer in Turkey, previously was featured on the cover of EA Sports' NCAA March Madness 08. A 2010 NBA All-Star, the 21-year-old Durant became the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring this past season (30.2 PPG), and he helped lead the Thunder to an impressive 50 win season and an spot in the NBA playoffs, where the team lost in a tough six-game series to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.