The NBA 2k League began its second season with four new teams and 52 new players seeing their first action in a tournament called “The Tipoff.”
What is the NBA 2k League?
The NBA 2k League is a professional esports league built around the popular basketball video game franchise, NBA 2k. It’s a joint venture between the NBA, 21 NBA franchises and Take Two Studios, the producer of NBA 2k. Each of the 21 NBA franchises who sponsor a team has drafted a roster of five players who went through an interview and qualification process.
During the season, which will run through August, the teams provide room and board for the players along with a salary of at least $33,000. Players practice and compete as a team against the other teams in the league over the course of a regular season and postseason structure. Instead of competing as virtual renditions of their corresponding NBA counterparts (i.e. Warriors Gaming does not play as Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, etc.), their avatars on the court are custom and based on specific archetypes unique to the players’ positions. There are cash prizes for winning the league championship and any of the three in-season tournaments totaling over a million dollars.
Format for “The Tipoff”
The 21 teams are broken down into three seven-team groups, who will each play two games to determine group winners from Tuesday, April 2 through Friday, April 5. The top teams in each group will progress to the tournament championship round, joined by the top non-group winner to form a four-team bracket.
The championship round will be played on Saturday, April 6. The winning team will receive a $120,000 bonus and 1/3 of a trophy, the “Banner Chain,” the other 2/3 of which will be up for grabs in two other tournaments later in the season.
Scores and Highlights From the First Night of Games
Tuesday’s opening night action included six games, which began with Mavs Gaming and Raptors Uprising GC taking the court. Using a balanced attack that got four of Raptors Uprising GC’s five players into double figures and stifling defense that held Mavs Gaming to just 4/14 from 3-point range, Raptors Uprising GC came away with the 62-41 win.
Raptors Uprising GC played the “winner stays on” narrative, remaining in place for its next game against Cavs Legion GC. Cavs Legion GC was more effective at containing the attack of Raptors Uprising GC and was able to convert offensive possessions at a higher rate, going 7/15 from downtown to claim the 59-47 win.
Mavs Gaming would then retake the court looking to gain its first victory of the tournament and hand Cavs Legion GC its first defeat. Thanks to 20 points by Dimez and a double-double (12 points, 14 rebounds) from PeteBeBallin, Mavs Gaming was able to accomplish those objectives and take the 53-43 victory.
After members of the 2018 team received their rings for winning the NBA 2k League’s first Finals, the current Knicks Gaming squad looked to continue that success against one of the expansion teams, NetsGC. The contest turned out to be the closest of the four games played to that point, with NetsGC getting its first-ever win 55-49.
Magic Gaming took the stage to face NetsGC in the next game and Magic Gaming center KingCamRoyalty made his presence felt. The second player on the night to record a double-double, KingCamRoyalty’s 19 rebounds complemented by 10 points propelled Magic Gaming to the 50-42 win.
The final game of the night proved to be worth the wait, as Magic Gaming looked to send Knicks Gaming to an 0-2 performance in group play. After Knicks Gaming took a 28-21 halftime lead, Magic Gaming outscored Knicks Gaming 15-8 in the third quarter to pull even and neither team could get an advantage in the fourth quarter. It then took two overtime periods before Magic Gaming stole the 72-70 win.
The group play standings for the teams who participated in Tuesday night’s games are:
- Magic Gaming 2-0
- Cavs Legion GC 1-1
- Mavs Gaming 1-1
- NetsGC 1-1
- Raptors Uprising GC 1-1
- Knicks Gaming 0-2
The player who was most impressive on Tuesday night was Magic Gaming center KingCamRoyalty. He recorded double-doubles in both games for a total of 38 rebounds and 21 points to go with 10/17 shooting.
Six more games are on tap for Wednesday, April 3. All games are available to stream live for free on the NBA 2k League Twitch channel and the schedule is as follows:
- T-Wolves Gaming at Grizz Gaming, 4 p.m. ET
- Wizards District Gaming at Grizz Gaming, 5 p.m. ET
- Wizards District Gaming at T-Wolves Gaming, 6 p.m. ET
- Heat Check Gaming at 76ers GC, 7 p.m. ET
- Kings Guard Gaming at Heat Check Gaming, 8 p.m. ET
- 76ers GC at Kings Guard Gaming, 9 p.m. ET