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The NBA 2K League Kicks Off With Its Very Own Player Drafts

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The NBA is really giving support to esports, as we heard earlier on the announcement of the NBA 2K League. The esports pro circuit will have players representing the NBA teams and compete in its own league to the similar format to the NBA basketball league.

The twist is that each player is not controlling the whole team like in other sports games. Each player is representing their own avatar, so a team has to field a six-man roster with five starters. Not only that, the players have to be drafted into the team as well for its inaugural season.

The 17 teams participating, esports associations that are tied to NBA teams, have went through the draft selection to pick their first ever roster. The pool of players were selected after a combine event- prospective players were judged by their performance on online matches- to be shortlisted for the drafts. Similar to NBA drafts, the selection of the first 102 NBA 2K League players were broadcasted, both on NBA TV and livestreamed on Twitch.

The 17 participating teams are:

  • 76ers GC (Philadelphia 76ers )
  • Blazer5 Gaming (Portland Trail Blazers )
  • Bucks Gaming (Milwaukee Bucks )
  • Cavs Legion GC (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Celtics Crossover (Gaming Boston Celtics )
  • Grizz Gaming (Memphis Grizzlies )
  • Heat Check Gaming (Miami Heat )
  • Jazz Gaming (Utah Jazz )
  • Kings Guard Gaming (Sacramento Kings )
  • Knicks Gaming (New York Knicks )
  • Magic Gaming (Orlando Magic)
  • Mavs Gaming (Dallas Mavericks )
  • Pacers Gaming (Indiana Pacers )
  • Pistons GT (Detroit Pistons )
  • Raptors Uprising GC (Toronto Raptors )
  • Warriors GS (Golden State Warriors )
  • Wizards District Gaming (Washington Wizards)

The final drafts list can be found here.

It’s interesting to see the NBA 2K League going the other way- forming esports associations rather than just use the NBA team name- as compared to the Overwatch League which are eschewing esports association brands for a city-based branding in veins of traditional sports like the NBA.

The NBA 2K League will be offering a total of $1,000,000 milion USD. All of the 102 players signed will have a six-month contracts of $32,000 value, with first round draft picks going for $35,000. Benefits include insurance, paid housing and even a retirement plan.