In 2018, the NBA will team up with Take Two (maker of the NBA 2Kvideogame series) for a groundbreaking eSports league. That’s because this time, the actual NBA franchises will own eSports teams competing for the championship, similar to the way teams can own, or even share, Development League squads. There’s no word on which teams will be the first ones to own one of the 8-12 initial teams in the “NBA 2K eLeague.” Each one will feature five human players and the plan is to eventually have one for each of the league’s 30 teams.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told the Wall Street Journal that it won’t require competitors to travel, since the internet “gives us enormous flexibility to find the best players.” We don’t know when or how tryouts will take place, but each player will participate as a custom-created avatar.
Expect to see a heavy dose of promotion for the eSports matchups during regular NBA broadcasts, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver also told the Journal that coverage should include both online and television broadcasts. He also explained to the Associated Press why the league is giving this a try: “There’s going to be an opportunity for this first of a kind league to attract a group of gamers who might be playing some other game. Now, they can say `Maybe I couldn’t play for the Knicks, because I didn’t have the physical prowess to compete at that level. But I do have the mental and physical prowess to compete as an egamer for the eKnicks.” via: Engadget
Now I’ve been pretty much out on E-Sports up to this point, I know, I know, “billions of people around the world follow it, it’s technically the biggest sport, blah blah blah.” Im out on them because I don’t subscribe to this League of Legends type mayhem based MMORP whatever. No qualms, just not my cup of tea, just as I’m sure most of those guys probably aren’t too concerned with how many rushing yards Levon Bell has every week so they can make sure they’re not losing their rent money on Draft Kings or with their bookie.
That being said, I am all in on this every step of the way, 1000%. Gimme Gimme Gimme. I love me some 2K and love me some real life NBA. I’m a huge advocate to both the My Player and My GM modes, this league really encompasses parts from all of those. I’m really intrigued to see how they ultimately decide to build out the original pool of players to be drafted. It can’t be some open tryout, then every 12-year old banging my Mom from here to Tokyo will be coming to try out, that will take years. Hopefully, 2K uses existing paid tournament records and/or online statistics to narrow the field down to a few hundred players eligible to be drafted.
That’s when this league gets interesting to me. Everyone in the world becomes a free agent after that. I wonder what lengths and resources teams will put into locating and scouting new talent. I’m assuming for the first season or so it will be a wild west of sorts. CBA rules and effective best practices will yet to be fully established. Those things take time to work out the kinks, at very least one full calendar year. It states that each player will be able to use their custom avatar, but how will they determine the in-game rating of each player? How will players progress and improve? How will they evaluate incoming players? Will a 7-foot point guard be able to exist or a 5-7 center? I still have a ton of questions, but this was just the initial announcement as we are expecting more details to come. It’s like the XFL, I’m not sure if it will work, but I’m praying hard it does. When this league does come to fruition, though, I better be able to gamble on it. Trying to figure out those games is the “Inception” of sports betting, analyzing the game within the game. Yes I know, mind blown. Same.
I’m so fed up with the real Knicks, I’m ready to throw my full support behind the newly founded “eKnicks!!!”
*Finds out they’re also owned by James Dolan*
God dammit, were permanently fucked, aren’t we?
Fuck this F