Title: NBA hopes venture into eSports pays off big for the league: ‘We see huge potential’
Date: September 22, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the NBA’s foray into the world of eSports with the launch of their NBA 2K league.
A team of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Aaron Gordon and C.J. McCollum should be unbeatable. It is a lineup of all-stars and potential all-stars, a star quintet with personality, flair and singular talent. Put them together on a basketball court, and there would be little hope of stopping them. Fire them up as a five-some in NBA 2K and watch opponents cry injustice or the game itself tap out.
Or so you’d think.
As it turns out, that super-group is beatable in the 2K landscape, as pro-am eSports team Still Trill showed the world at NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans last year. Playing themselves in the 2K17 instalment of the NBA’s flagship video game franchise – and NBA players fancy themselves some of the best 2K players around with arguments and showdowns abounding in locker rooms and Snapchat stories – the five NBA stars proved no match for a group of professional gamers. And it wasn’t even particularly close, with Still Trill dominating a 95-52 game that was so one-sided it had host Hannibal Burress asking if Durant would now try to join Still Trill.