The National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive (the studio behind the award-winning NBA 2K series) are coming together in 2018 with their newest eSports venture, the NBA 2K eLeague.
— NBA 2K 2K17 (@NBA2K) February 9, 2017
The NBA 2K eLeague announced early Thursday morning that they will be “bringing some of the world’s best gamers together to compete while representing actual NBA teams,” something that NBA Commisioner Adam Silver hopes will “continue to expand his league’s global brand.”
Speaking with the Associated Press, Adam Silver stated:
“The large part of my mission is to grow the game of basketball. 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.”‘
The NBA 2K eLeague is slated to begin with 8-12 teams, and while Silver didn’t indicate which of the NBA’s 30 teams will own the teams, he did note that “eventually all 30 NBA teams will be represented,” with each NBA owner “being given the opportunity to build teams at their own pace.”
Gamers will be chosen through a recruiting process by both NBA teams and Take-Two, going through a virtual combine and draft, which will either be televised or streamed online, according to Commissioner Silver.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick wishes to make the eLeague “as real as possible.” He also indicated that there will be a cash prize for the winner “similar to some of the past NBA 2K tournaments that awarded a $250,000 grand prize.” Adam Silver also stated that his avatar will present the championship trophy to the winner.
Zelnick also said that “NBA teams could train selected gamers, who will use their own consoles.”
Source: National Basketball Association via Associated Press; NBA 2K via Twitter