Update: The NBA 2K League is Happening!
Back in July, OTG Basketball touched on the idea of the NBA pursuing a partnership with 2K interactive to form an ESports league. Since then there has been little news about the league’s formation. The idea that the league would start when the newest game came out was false. Creating a new sports league can be a difficult task and there was not enough time to iron out all of the aspects before the NBA season started. Luckily, there is news about the league and you may have the opportunity to try out to be one of the team’s talents.
According to Edgar Alvarez of Engadget, the NBA 2K Basketball League will be officially underway in May 2018. That is exciting news for any fan of the video game that may be interested in participating or watching the league. May is actually the perfect time to start the league because the NBA regular season is over and the playoffs are winding down in may as well. Just when fans thought they had to find something else to watch, the NBA put this league right in the perfect spot. At this point, there is no indication as to the length or format of the NBA 2K League season.
Even though information about the league itself is not readily available, there are some more details about how the NBA and 2K Interactive will find the gamers to be the face of their league. According to Josh Cohen of NBA.com, There will be try-outs and a draft. Try-outs will begin in February to show off the skillset of some of the best NBA 2K players in the world. To get an opportunity to show your skills at the try-outs will not be easy. You will have to be ranked within the top 85 players in the world on NBA 2K18 online per Edgar Alvarez. That means you have just over two months to work your way up the latter to have a chance at being a professional eSports athlete.
When the players get through the try-out and prove their worth, the 17 teams scheduled to be a part of the league will then have a draft in early March. Its format will be similar to the NBA draft’s format. The pick order will most likely be based on a random number generator. Considering all teams are even at this point, there is no other fair way to pick the team order. This is where scouting comes in the most. According to Cohen, NBA 2K scouts will have to build a team with 5 players on each roster.
How the game play itself will work is that the five players on each team will have to work in tandem to win each game. They also will not be playing with NBA superstars like LeBron James, James Harden, Kevin Durant, or Steph Curry. Each team will be comprised of individualized avatars created by each player. Where it gets a little confusing is how they make sure that the players have will rely strictly on their skills. That would mean that the players would be customized to be blank slates. So there will be no players with a 95 overall going up against players with 65 overalls. The point of the league is to see the skillset of the gamer. 2K interactive will make sure that the skills of the gamer are on display instead of the Artificial Intelligence assisting.
The game play should be interesting too. When playing NBA 2K18, it seems like it would be difficult to play with four other players on the court too. It really brings to light the game of basketball and typical basketball strategy. When watching these games, fans will feel like they are watching actual NBA teams that use tactics like the pick and roll. One of the biggest questions at this point will be what controller and system the games will be played on. Most other eSports leagues let the players choose between the Playstation 4 and Xbox One controllers when they play. NBA 2K18 is out for those systems plus the Nintendo Switch and PC. It would make sense for the NBA and 2K Interactive to want to regulate the controller, but that is almost like regulating the shoes NBA players where. If someone wants to use the Switch controller they should be allowed. This problem will be sorted out before the league takes off.
Overall, this is an exciting time for eSports and basketball. Sports games typically do not get the respect they deserve in the video game community, but they can be a moneymaker. The NBA 2K League represents an opportunity for gamers to live out their NBA dreams. Most of us will not be able to play basketball professionally, but a lot of us can be solid NBA 2K players. The ones that really have a chance to make the league are the best of the best, but if this is something you are interested in doing, go follow those dreams. All you need to do is be ranked in the top 85 when the try-out takes place. Get those fingers moving and maybe you will be the next big star in eSports.