• Kyle Zwiazek

Is the NBA Taking a Shot at Esports?


Esports are garnering more and more attention in America. The phenomenon includes games like Super Smash Bros., World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Halo, Street Fighter and even recently FIFA and Madden. Well, the NBA has taken notice of the rise in popularity of esports and created a league of their own. The game of choice is NBA 2K18 or whatever the newest 2K game is in the series. The most exciting part of this is that anyone can have a future in the NBA now. Most of you reading this article have already given up on NBA dreams or have accepted that you probably will not be a professional athlete. Most of us cope with our lack of basketball skills by playing video games as created players living out our dreams from our couches. That can all change now. All of those hours you put in to become the best 2K player you can be may actually pay off.

There is very little information about what is actually going to take place at the moment. That will all hopefully change within the next couple months. It would make sense for the beginning of the league to be around the beginning of the NBA regular season. That is when the new game comes out and there will be a lot of hype around basketball at that time. Not only is this a fun idea for the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc to be involved in, but they managed to get 17 out of the 30 NBA teams on board. Here is when things start getting a little fishy. According to Eric Van Allen of compete.kotaku.com, and esports blog, there are not many competitive leagues to find 2K players to fill out 17 teams.

The original plan is to have gamers create individual players and fill out each team with five players. If there are not many tournaments for this game it may be tough to find enough players that would garner the competition the NBA and Take-Two Interactive are looking for. The name of the game is finding a way to make money off of this. If there are established 2K players out there that come in with a fan base then it will be easy to sell advertisements and garner revenue. Apparently that is not the case, according to Van Allen. The fact that the NBA preseason is only two months away one would think that they might have announced rosters for the teams or at least an update on the athletes.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said on ESPN “There is going to be a draft…It will begin with a pool of gamers.” The plan is to draft the players and turn these gamers into professionals. This will be a full time job and they will play a five month season similar to the NBA schedule. This is an exciting time for video game fans and NBA fans alike. Hopefully, the league has the success that others have had already.

The saving grace is that FIFA has had a ton of success in the esports community. Recently, new soccer team NYCFC signed Christopher Holly to represent the team in FIFA tournaments around the world. The tournament that is considered to be the largest FIFA tournament in the world is the FIFA Interactive World Cup. The winner of this tournament receives $200,000. Meaning this is a legitimate tournament that has representatives from around the world coming to it. The proof is in the pudding. This can actually work for the NBA if they put enough effort into it. FIFA makes sense to be a sport that would dip into the esports realm. Soccer is loved throughout the world and FIFA is the game to play if you are a soccer fan. This tournament is so big that it is run through FIFA, which is the Federation Internationale de Football Association. Basically FIFA is the organizing body of soccer around the world.

If you are a 2K player, maybe this is the opportunity for you. You can definitely count on OTGBasketball to keep you up to date on what is going on in the NBA 2K league. At this point it was an announced idea that has not received much press. If this is actually coming to fruition, which Adam Silver was on ESPN talking about it so it better, then it will be fun to keep track of. The big question is who is going to play? They can’t just take any guy off the street to put in front of a television to play this game. No matter what happens, plan on there being an NBA 2K league at the start of the NBA season. Stay tuned for future information.

#KyleZwiazek #NBA #NBAEsports