Adam Silver and the NBA announced that they were adding their own Esports league where gamers would get paid to compete in NBA 2k. The very first draft was held on April 4, where our own Scoop B interviewed the number one overall pick, Dimez. This past week, “The Tipoff” tournament, with a $100k prize pool, was played to kick off the NBA 2k League season, and the 76ers Gaming Club became the first ever winner.
Teams are made up of six players and two managers. The managers act as coaches during the game as they try to give their team some advice during timeouts. Each game was played in an arena where each team sat facing each other with a screen for each player. The setup allows for plenty of trash talk. Instead of yelling into your microphone at little kids that keep calling you names, now you can go crazy at big plays with your teammates and yell at the victim of a poster who sits right across the room.
While many people are quick to write off this league because they think it’s weird to watch other people play video games, there are many gamers and curious minds that came to watch. On Twitch, there were upwards of 6k viewers at one time. Most of the games were very entertaining as well. Newcomers to the Esports world are expecting corny announcers and a game that’s slow producing a snoozefest. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. The commentators actually make some of the big moments even more exciting like the regular ones on TV do. They also make some jokes that the non-gamers can relate to like when they joked about how they were yelling at a video game. On top of that, a handful of games came down to the wire with buzzer beaters that made the audience get out of their seats.
The Tipoff tournament consisted of group play leading into single elimination playoffs with the top two teams from each group making it to the playoff stage. The eight out of seventeen teams that made it to the playoffs in the inaugural tournament were the Cavs, Jazz, Blazers, Pacers, Warriors, Mavs, Pistons, and Sixers. Going into this tournament, the spotlight was on the Mavs team that showcased Dimez who dropped a league-record 50 points in one game. The Blazers and Sixers, however, had other plans for the outcome of the tournament.
Both teams had very different roads to the finals. The Blazers were undefeated in group play but just crept into the championship after some very tough playoff games. The Sixers, on the other hand, did not win their group. As soon as they hit the playoffs though, they started steamrolling teams including destroying the Mavs by a score of 83-56.
In the finals, the Sixers broke out to a huge lead early on. After shrinking the lead right before halftime, the Blazers then brought the game back to a tie in the third quarter. The Sixers didn’t waver, as their team play shined and they grabbed the lead back. The fourth quarter was tight, but with just a couple minutes remaining, the Sixers pulled away behind the play of Radiant, Steez, and ZDS. The MVP of the tournament ended up being Radiant, the leader and point guard of the Sixers Gaming Club, who dropped a smooth 17 points, 14 assists, and seven steals in the final game.