• Kyle Zwiazek

Why You Should Care About The NBA 2K League?

The NBA’s newest league is in full swing and it is more exciting than originally anticipated. Esports are growing throughout the world and the NBA has found a way to combine the sport of basketball with competitive gaming. Some basketball fans are already on board with this idea. They have been playing NBA video games for years and see the potential in the new league. Other fans are skeptical and think it would be boring to watch people play video games. I was part of that second group initially.

The NBA 2K League was an opportunity for me to write about something different than the X’s and O’s of NBA basketball. At first, I was unsure how I would feel about watching gamers play video games. As a sports fan, this was a whole new world for me. I have been hearing of Esports for years prior to the NBA 2K League, but never paid too much attention to it. My interest started growing when my hometown NYCFC signed on a gamer to play FIFA for them. As an avid FIFA player, I realized maybe I could make some money off of this venture. Like most people that think they could become a professional athlete, my dreams faded quickly. I realized that there was something bigger here in this Esports world that could not be ignored.

Then the NBA 2K League was announced and it became exactly what I was looking for. It took everything I liked about watching team sports and combined them with my love for sports video games. I also had a chance to compete myself. Even at this moment when I was excited about the possibility this could be for my career, I was still skeptical of whether or not it would work. I am lucky enough to have friends that are fans of Esports and in the video game world. When talking about the NBA 2K League with them, they shared my same doubts and they were:

Will the NBA 2K League be able to capture the attention of basketball fans?

How will the draft impact the league?

Will gamers be interested in a sports video game?

I sat in a diner with a friend of my who designs video games for a living and he was fascinated by this venture as much as I was. My friend is not a sports fan and has no real interest in basketball. That is why his opinion was so important. The first thought was will basketball fans care? This is going to be the biggest struggle of the NBA 2K League. As one of the biggest skeptics, I must say it has. Now, that is not saying it is for everyone. As a basketball fan, I gravitated towards the game I know well in a digital format.

When watching the game play it honestly feels like watching a live basketball game. The benefit to it is that the game is quicker. Most of the matches are done within an hour. Also the player’s reactions are actually one of the best parts of the games. Sure their avatars are just doing the basic celebrations in the game, but when the camera hits these athletes after a good play you get pure, raw emotion.

Even though it is exciting to watch, there are certain aspects that remind you that it is a video game. For example when players jump and they are nowhere near the ball it can be a little strange. Those are minor issues. If you like basketball you will enjoy the NBA 2K League too.

The second question was about how the draft would impact the league. This is because players that join together create a lot of other Esports league teams. They are known as clans. During the NBA 2K League qualifier these clans started forming. Well, they were broken up by the draft. It really has not been an issue though. By the looks of it the teams seem to be getting along pretty well and building a rapport. We can look at it like going from college basketball to the NBA.

Lastly, are gamers going to be interested in the league? Take someone that normally plays Counter Strike for instance; are they interested in basketball? It is tough to generalize a whole group of people, but when the NBA 2K league athletes went to PAX East this year, they were celebrated. Some players have dabbled in other games as well. It really is a nice mix of video game and basketball guys. Overall, it has gotten the attention of the gaming world.

With the NBA playoffs winding down, if you are looking to get your basketball fix you should try out the NBA 2K League. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed watching these guys play a game I have played for most of my life. It is amazing to see these guys play the game at such a high level. Practice truly makes perfect in every aspect of life.

#NBA #NBAEsports #nba2kleague #NBA2k18 #Esports #KyleZwiazek