There is such a thing as a Madden curse. It has been well known and publicized over the years that many players have dealt with injuries or had down seasons the year that they graced the cover of Madden (Peyton Hillis was out of the league altogether a couple years after), but that curse has seemed to make its way to NBA 2K in recent years in the form of players leaving the teams they are on not long after gracing the cover.
Here is the list for reference:
LeBron James NBA 2K14: Joined the Cavaliers the next summer
Kevin Durant NBA 2K15: Joined the Warriors the next summer
Paul George NBA 2K17: Traded to the Thunder the next summer after requesting a trade
The 2K cover curse reached a new level this summer though and as not long after Kyrie Irving was announced as the cover athlete for the game he requested a trade from the Cavaliers which essentially kept the game makers in limbo with their cover as they waited to see where he would end up.
With the blockbuster trade that was finalized last week that sent Irving to the Celtics, NBA 2K released a new cover for the 2K18 version of their game featuring Irving in a Celtics uniform…
— NBA 2K 2K18 (@NBA2K) September 7, 2017
This photo looks pretty good considering Irving has never actually worn a Celtics jersey on the court, kudos to 2K.