NBA 2K League
NBA 2K is without a doubt the biggest basketball game out there. Published as the result of a joint venture between the National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive, the game itself has been around since 1999. The corresponding NBA 2K League on the other hand has not been around quite as long. It features teams of 6 players each (five actively playing participants and one alternate) that compete in 5v5 play in a series of different events as unique characters.
Seeing the growing popularity of this esports, even bookmakers could not stand by. Therefore, the NBA 2K betting world is active as well – plenty of esports betting sites offer ongoing esports odds on NBA 2K games, and even fantasy pick leagues exist by now.
The history of the NBA 2K League
In 2017, the League was first revealed and announced – along with the info that a whopping 17 of the 30 overall NBA teams would field their own teams during the first season. Said season commenced in 2018. The inaugural winning team was Knicks Gaming – associated with the New York Knicks, of course.
The inaugural NBA 2K league schedule spanned 17 action packed weeks, at first without any trading. The following year, in 2019, the season added four new teams – Atlanta, Brooklyn, LA and Minnesota, bringing the total to 21 teams. Two trade periods were added as well, allowing for 1:1 trades, protected players and more.
This added a little more risk to the teams – and consequences for their player choices. Protecting additional players from drafts cost the team picks, and so on. It was popular enough – five trades between ten teams total took place.
One of the new NBA 2k league teams immediately snatched title from the reigning champs – the Minnesota Timberwolves and their team T-Wolves Gaming stole the show during the 2019 season.
All players during the seasons earned upwards of $32.000 for their participation, depending on when they were picked. Additionally, teams had the chance to win as much as $1 million dollars in prize money. The final play-off prize pool alone is set at $600.000, with half of that going to the league’s winning team.
NBA 2K League 2020
In 2020, two more teams joined the line-up, one of them not associated with an NBA team. The Charlotte Hornets are fielding the Hornets Venom GT team, but additionally, esports organisation Gen.G will also be adding their Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai to the overall team line-up. This makes them the first non-NBA-team aligned team on the roster and might just really shake up the events of the NBA 2K league 2020.
The first six weeks of the 2020 league will be held remotely, with each of the 23 teams playing at least eight matches each. They will count towards their regular season-record. Three wins will count as one ‘regular’ win – just like three losses will count as one loss.
Regarding the decision of a remote gameplay season, NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue said:
“We are thrilled to officially tip off the 2020 NBA 2K League season remotely and hope the excitement of NBA 2K League competition provides both new and returning fans with a fun way to stay connected and engage with our league during these unprecedented times. Our players have been quarantining with their teammates as they prepare for the season and will now have the opportunity to compete against one another and show they are the best players in the world.”
In addition to the regular matches, different teams will also host additional events, such as rivalry games to keep fans interested or round-robin mini events. For weeks prior to this series of events, players quarantined with their teammates due to the Covid-19 crisis, thus ensuring that they were healthy and ready for the season.
2020 NBA 2k League start-of-season schedule:
- May 5-8 → Regular Season – Week 1
- May 12-15 → Regular Season – Week 2
- May 19-22 → Regular Season – Week 3
- May 26-29 → Regular Season – Week 4
- June 2-5 → Regular Season – Week 5
- June 9-12 → Regular Season – Week 6
Along with the main NBA 2K league, there are plenty of other events running at any given time – and that includes a lively array of sponsors, including AT&T, Facebook, GameStop, Snickers, Twitch, YouTube and more. Additionally, there is also a fair number of streamers that regularly stream on Twitch and YouTube – for fans of NBA 2K, there is always something to watch, even outside of the NBA 2K league itself. If NBA 2K League continues to grow, it will not be surprising to see the emergence of fantasy esports tournaments dedicated to this title.