NBA is set to host an esports NBA 2K tournament, which will feature NBA professional players competing on a virtual court, with all matches said to be broadcasted live on ESPN.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has to date reportedly infected over 800,000 people across the globe, over 170,000 of which in the United States, most of the sports scene has come to a stop in a bid to ensure wellbeing and security for the players and fans.
After Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, NBA decided to halt its play and a day later announced the league will suspend the 2019/20 season to prevent any further spread of the deadly illness amongst its players and the fans. Its esports counterpart - the NBA 2K League followed suit and announced its 2020 season, which was slated to begin on March 24, will be postponed indefinitely. That consequently left basketball fans from around the world without any basketball action to watch while most of the population is homebound - up until now.
According to reports, the American top-flight basketball league opted to follow the footsteps of Formula 1 and transitioned into the esports world, by announcing an online esports basketball tournament, featuring NBA pro players, who will get a chance to duke it out against each other on a virtual court while the doors to their arenas remain shut.
As announced, the event is set to begin on Friday, April 3 and it will likely see one of professional NBA players from each of the 30 teams compete against each other. Some sources also claim each team is expected to have one NBA 2K pro involved in the event, however, it remains to be seen whether that pro will be playing for the team or simply help NBA pros with their preparation for the event as a coach.
To date, no NBA organisation has yet to unveil which of their players will attend the NBA 2K event, however, it's expected for the announcement to surface sometime in the following days. That being said, we can make a solid guess which players are likely to participate in the esports competition, considering many NBA stars showed their love for the gaming world by turning to streaming since NBA shut its doors.
Some names that pop up are Gordon Hayward, Paul George, Jeremy Lin, Luka Doncic and Devin Booker, who is already tied with 100 Thieves esports organisation and is a fairly successful streamer on Twitch, where ha amassed over 81,000 followers to date.
Ben Simmons is another name that might be seen at the event, given that the Australian NBA star has been heavily involved in the gaming scene recently, having also participated at the FaZe's Warzone tournament.
Many fans, however, will be hoping to see the NBA superstar LeBron James make his appearance, yet it may not be the optimal decision, considering the three-time NBA champion stated before he takes his NBA 2K matches very seriously, much like the games he plays at the Staples Center. That might spark some interesting moments, but given his charisma and strive to be nothing short of the best in everything he does, some frustrating moments might be afoot.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.