With the rise in technology and popularity in video games in today’s culture, eSports have been increasingly working from a point of near obscurity to a now-stable niche in pop culture. Games played on the professional competitive level have ranged from first-person shooters like “Counter-Strike Global Offensive” and “Overwatch” to, more recently, sports video games like Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL” series. One of the more popular sports video game series of the past decade has been Take Two’s “NBA 2K” series, an NBA basketball simulator. Similar to “Overwatch’s” the “NBA 2K” series recently started up its eSports league, known as the NBA 2K League, with professional players drafted onto city-based teams.
Teams are composed of players that were selected in the NBA 2K League draft April 4. Players were declared eligible for both the 2K League draft and the pre-draft 2K League combine, an event in which these players were allowed to showcase their “NBA 2K” skills to professional teams, if they were able to win 50 games with their personally created NBA avatar player. These 50 games could be won in one versus one games against other players or team versus team games.
Seventeen NBA franchises have partnered with the 2K League in creating teams based around their cities. The 17 teams in the inaugural 2K League season are the Dallas Mavs Gaming; Boston Celtics Crossover Gaming; Utah Jazz Gaming; Sacramento Kings Guard Gaming; Detroit Pistons GT; Portland Blazer5 Gaming; Miami Heat Check Gaming; Orlando Magic Gaming; New York Knicks Gaming; Milwaukee Bucks Gaming; Toronto Raptors Uprising GC; Washington, D.C. Wizards District Gaming; Indiana Pacers Gaming; Philadelphia 76ers GC; Memphis Grizz Gaming; Cleveland Cavs Legion GC; and the Golden State Warriors Gaming Squad.
The inaugural season will begin in May. Regular season games will be Fridays and Saturdays with teams facing off head-to-head each week. Teams will participate in 14 regular season matchups with three tournaments spaced throughout the season for teams to win prize money and increase their playoff seeding.
The playoff matchups will begin August 17, with the top seven win-loss records in the league and the final tournament winner guaranteed playoff spots. The quarterfinal round will be single-game eliminations, and the semifinals and finals will be best-of-three series with the winning team taking home over $500 thousand in winnings.
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