Dwight Howard featured on NBA Live 10 cover (Update)

Last week, 2K Sports announced that the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant will be on the cover of NBA 2K10. Now we know that Dwight Howard, C/PF for the Orlando Magic, will grace the cover of EA Sports’ NBA Live 10. Of course, this raises a question: how late are these cover athletes finalized? Did 2K Sports and EA Sports simply wait until the 2009 NBA conference champions were announced?

Marcus Stephenson, a producer on NBA Live 10 at EA Canada, said yesterday that the decision was made a while ago, and that the team was simply “lucky that Orlando got by Cleveland” in the Eastern Conference Finals. Who knows for sure? Either way, I’m digging the stylized cover, which is similar to the awesome artwork for Madden NFL 10.

Howard is a beast on the floor — last night, in Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers, he finished with 16 points, 21 rebounds, and an NBA Finals-record nine blocks. However, his two missed free throws in the last minute of the game (in addition to coach Stan Van Gundy’s inexplicable decision not to foul the Lakers intentionally) set the stage for Derek Fisher’s ridiculously clutch three-pointer to send the game into overtime; the Lakers went on to win, 99-91, putting the Magic in a 3-1 hole in the series.

Game 5 will be held in Orlando on Sunday night. I’ll be watching to see if Howard can show why he deserves to be on the NBA Live 10 box. As for the game, it’ll be out on PS3, 360, and PSP this October. Check out the box art in the gallery below; there’s also a reveal trailer and a press release after the jump.

[Update: Stephenson was nice enough to send over the PS3 box art, so it’s now available in the gallery in addition to the 360 cover! Enjoy!]

Dwight Howard Named Cover Athlete of EA SPORTS NBA LIVE 10

Three-Time NBA All-Star Currently Looking for First NBA Title

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – June 11, 2009 – Electronic Arts Inc. announced today that Orlando Magic center, Dwight Howard, will be the cover athlete for NBA LIVE 10. A three-time NBA All-Star, Howard is currently looking to lead the Magic franchise to their first NBA Championship. The No. 1 pick of the 2004 NBA Draft was the 2009 NBA Defensive Player of the Year presented by Kia Motors, an All-NBA First Team selection the last two seasons, and stole the show at the 2008 NBA Sprite Slam Dunk Contest with his superhero antics. Additionally, Howard was the starting center of the 2008 U.S. Basketball Men’s Senior National Team which won the gold medal at the Olympics in Beijing. NBA LIVE 10 is currently in development under the EA SPORTS™ brand by EA Canada in Vancouver, B.C. and will be available worldwide this October.

“It’s an honor to be named as the cover athlete for NBA LIVE 10,” said Howard. “This year has been a crazy ride and this is a cool way to cap it off. Of course – there is one more thing I’m on the hunt for that would complete it.”

Featuring several innovations to the core gameplay experience and online game modes, NBA LIVE 10 is bringing a renewed focus to the long-running EA SPORTS basketball franchise. The groundbreaking Dynamic DNA service, driven by Synergy Sports Technology, will make a return in NBA LIVE 10, with significant improvements that will allow players to connect their game to the NBA season like never before.

Along with Howard, regional NBA LIVE 10 cover athletes for France, Germany, Spain and Italy will be named at a later date.

The NBA LIVE franchise has graced multiple generations of consoles for over 15 years, and has sold more than 35 million units lifetime. The game will be available for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The game has not yet been rated by the ESRB. For more information, log onto www.nbalive10.com.

EA SPORTS™ is the leading interactive sports software brand in the world, with top-selling titles and franchises including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA LIVE basketball, NCAA® Football and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®.

Samit Sarkar