Storyline: eSports

200 rumors in this storyline

Jeff Eisenband: The @NBA2KLeague has introduced the “Command Center” on @Twitch, which allows viewers to watch both ongoing games at once. Main feed has @ScottColeShow and @Dirk_JDR’s call (going back-and-forth between games) and then each game has its own feed with game sounds. pic.twitter.com/gm7vqZv6qA

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Leonsis predicts the 2K League will become a way to attract international fans. “Almost 80 percent of the appeal is gonna be outside of the U.S.,” he said. The league and ESPN announced a deal on Tuesday to broadcast this season’s games both domestically and internationally. Last year’s NBA 2K Finals, the second one ever of its kind, exceeded one million unique viewers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch and YouTube, according to information the NBA provided to The Athletic. A league spokesperson denied a request for demographics of 2K viewership in different countries. “People have seen what we’ve been able to do with Team Liquid, which is the best-performing — in terms of players and prize money — team. But it’s also been a really, really great business,” Leonsis said. “And so, that’s what we think will happen here. We try to explain to everyone that there’s more people outside of the U.S. on the Internet than (there) are here and their first exposure to the NBA is probably gonna be through NBA 2K.”

The league is expanding to China. When the season begins Tuesday, it will have its first non-NBA affiliated squad: The Gen.G Tigers, located in Shanghai. It ran games on Tencent in China last season. It scheduled day games to air at primetime in Europe. The long-term goals are bigger. “We envision this being a global league,” 2K League managing director Brendan Donohue said. “We’re in the process and in our near future, we see having an Asia Pacific division, a European division of 2K League teams.”

ESPN will air live NBA 2K League matches on ESPN2 on three Tuesdays in May, the sports network announced today. It’s the first time that the NBA 2K League, which is operated by the NBA, will have matches aired live on TV in the US, according to ESPN. Some league matches will also be shown on the ESPN app and ESPN.com, depending on the day of the week and when in the season you’re watching. On Tuesdays at 7PM ET, starting today through May 19th, you can watch NBA 2K League matches on ESPN2. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 7PM ET, you can watch NBA 2K League games on the ESPN app and ESPN.com. ESPN has not yet announced the broadcast schedule for games that take place beginning May 26th.

The NBA 2K Players Tournament culminated in a battle of Valley Boyz. Devin Booker defeated Deandre Ayton as two of the most prominent members of the Phoenix Suns squared off in the best-of-three final. As the champion of the tournament created in partnership by the league and NBA 2K amid the season’s suspension, Booker received $100,000 to donate to the charity helping in the fight against the coronavirus of his choice. Booker took Game 1 of the final series 72-62 using the Rockets against the Lakers. In Game 2, the guard beat his own big man 74-62 using the Nuggets against the Bucks.

Wendi Fleming was one of three women who attended the NBA 2K League Draft in February. None of them were selected. Fleming, who had been passed over in all three NBA 2K League seasons, went back home to Chattanooga, Tenn., unsure of her future with the game and community she had put so much of herself into, only to come away feeling alienated. Then, only a few weeks later, she got a call from the league asking her if she would like to participate in the tournament, which carried a $25,000 prize pool.

“It’s been exciting leading up to tonight, and I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity,” Fleming said on the eve of her first game last Wednesday. “It’s crazy how thing work out. … “I definitely feel like this is another opportunity to prove that point, to show people what they passed up on, my skill and level of play, and how I can contribute as a team player.” Though it’s an exhibition tournament with no regular season or playoff implications, the stakes were also high for current players in the league who, like their NBA counterparts, must stay sharp to fend off the thousands of people who would gladly take their place.

The semifinals begin Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The matchups are Ayton vs. Beverley and Booker vs. Harrell, providing Suns-Clippers undercurrents in both games. Interestingly enough, both pairs were the only tournament participants from the same team among the original field of 16. Ayton faced the toughest test among the semifinalists on Thursday during his battle with Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. Booker cruised by Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards) in the first game and Harrell took out No. 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr., who defeated top seed Kevin Durant during the opening game of the tournament.

Q: What is it like to be involved with the operations of an NBA 2K League team in Wizards District Gaming? What would you say is the biggest difference compared to operating an NBA team? Andrew McNeill: It’s hard for me to say what the biggest difference is in being involved with Wizards District Gaming than from an NBA team because I’ve never been intimately involved in the operations of an NBA team, but I can say that working with a team in the NBA 2K League is incredibly exciting. The 2K League is a very young league with a ton of potential and I’m excited to do my small part to help it grow. And the competitor in me loves doing what I can to help put a team out there that can compete for championships in the 2K League. It’s really a great situation.

Tyler Erzberger of ESPN interviewed Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward on his Twitch stream and asked him who was more toxic, NBA players or League of Legend (LoL) players. Without hesitation, Hayward answered LoL players. “Dude, definitely League players. 100,000% League players, man. League of Legends players are so toxic, I can’t imagine being on a team in the NBA where they are as toxic as they are in League of Legends. Like if you missed a 3-pointer or something, everyone on the team starts flaming you.”

The Miami Heat were at least able to pick up some sort of victory while the NBA is suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. On Saturday, Heat forward Meyers Leonard led his team to a victory in a Call of Duty tournament for NBA players. The match was broadcast on Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers. Leonard teamed with NBAers Donovan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, Mario Hezonja and high school player Bronny James, son of LeBron James. They defeated a team comprised of Josh Hart, Ben Simmons and Royce O’Neale and high school player Terrence Clarke.

A professional gaming team owned by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks is getting blasted by artists for holding a design contest without a cash prize and telling graphic designers to “get a job” when they asked for compensation for their work. On November 11, Bucks Gaming took to Twitter to ask artists to design a new header image for the team, offering up free merchandise and credit in the team’s profile description to the winner. Some people expressed interest in the contest, but several designers replied with joke designs and called for the team to pay artists for professional work.

In March, Evans became the first woman drafted into the NBA 2K League, joining not only the fray of gamers who have to prove that what they do constitutes sports, but also the bevy of women in gaming and sports at large who have to prove that they simply belong. A Chicago native who played basketball from AAU up to college and semi-pro, Evans has had to face and overcome the kind of roadblocks you’d expect from two industries that tend to treat women as outsiders.

More than five months after being drafted and with more than enough validation from her league and teammates, Evans has learned to take the hate in stride. “It’s still there. It’s going to always be there. That’s something that you can’t change,” she told The Athletic during the first round of the NBA 2K League playoffs last week. “I can’t quit or give up just because a few people who obviously have problems with themselves, they’re bothering me. I can’t let them get to me and ruin who I am and you know my goal as a 2K player. I will say one thing that keeps me moving and keeps me going is the positivity and the support outweighs the negative.”

That landscape might be changing, if at a snail’s pace, aided in part by efforts to create women-only leagues and tournaments and raise awareness about the level of vitriol women gamers face. But while women supporting women is important, siloing them away from the mainstream gaming world isn’t the answer, especially with women fans representing a growing share of esports fans. According to market researcher Interpret, 30 percent of esports watchers are women, a 6.5 percent increase from 2016. As a woman in a man’s league, Evans is experiencing these shifts first hand. “I get inboxed all the time from a lot of women that I’m an inspiration. A lot of women who play 2K now, when they get into the 2K League, they’re gonna get better to improve their games,” she said. “I get messages from a lot of guys, too, but definitely a lot of women, a lot of younger females.”

And yet, gaming kind of is his day job now. Sheppard, a 50-year-old hoops lifer, was tapped this week to run an esports franchise. In the recent creation of Monumental Basketball, under which the four basketball-related properties owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment will operate, Sheppard has been tasked as the general manager of the Wizards, their G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, and most curiously, Wizards District Gaming of the NBA 2K League. Though Sheppard is in discovery mode about his role with the esports franchise, which recently completed its second season in a video game league that has drawn more than 293 million video views across social media platforms, his attention will be mostly focused outside the virtual world.

“The opportunity with basketball with the Wizards, the Go-Go, District Gaming is fantastic to me because if you think about the explosion of esports, that’s something I’m getting my arms around, I can’t wait to be part of it,” Sheppard said of the NBA 2K League, the first professional esports operation run by one of the four major American sports leagues. “But my focus is the Washington Wizards and the Go-Go right now because that is our core business that needs the most help.”

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, owner of Arsenal, the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Gladiators, has agreed to a deal that will see it acquire Echo Fox’s League of Legends Championship Series slot for $30.25 million, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN. The deal is pending Riot Games’ approval and comes after the expiration of a Monday deadline set by Riot that put Echo Fox, which was cofounded by three-time NBA champion Rick Fox, in jeopardy of losing their League of Legends Championship Series slot, as reported by ESPN on Friday. Since the weekend, Echo Fox has scrambled to strike a deal with a suitor.

Magic Gaming and locally-owned and operated Papa John’s in Central Florida will team up for a first-of-its-kind partnership in the NBA 2K League offering fans a winning combination – the Papa John’s MGWIN promotion. The promotion offers Central Florida fans 50 percent off their regular menu price online order the day after any Magic Gaming victory when they enter the promo code ‘MGWIN’ at PapaJohns.com. The Papa John’s MGWIN offer will be available for all Magic Gaming matchups during the 2019 NBA 2K League season. Magic Gaming plays again Wednesday, May 15 when they take on Pistons GT. The game will be livestreamed on the league’s Twitch channel. Magic Gaming has played five of its 16 regular season games and currently stands at 2-3 (4-2 in tournament play).
1 year ago via ESPN

The NBA 2K League will have $1.2 million in its prize pool for the 2019 season, up $200,000 from the inaugural season last year. Players will receive a base salary of $33,000 for a six-month commitment, with up to $38,000 for players retained from the 2018 season. Meanwhile, the prize pool will be spread out over four tournaments and the league playoffs, with $120,000 up for grabs in the season-opening “THE TIPOFF” tournament. “THE TURN” and “THE TICKET” tournaments each will have $180,000 available in prize money, while the league playoffs will be worth $720,000.

“The next generation of sports fans are esports fans,” said Ted Leonsis, co-executive chairman of aXiomatic and the founder, chairman, chief executive and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment (which owns the Washington Wizards, Capitals and the WNBA Mystics franchise), in a statement. “Esports is the fastest-growing sector in sports and entertainment, and aXiomatic is at the forefront of that growth. We are thrilled to welcome Michael and Declaration Capital to aXiomatic and look forward to working together on some truly cutting-edge opportunities.”

Bosh is a person with varied interests: travel, cooking, coding/technology, guitar, family. Add a new one to the list: esports. Bosh has joined esports franchise Gen.G Esports as a player management advisor. Bosh plans to bring his experience in sports to esports: leadership, communication, teamwork, championship ideals, dealing with pressure and off-the-court issues. “It’s a dream for me to be able to work with these guys,” Bosh said. “The way I look at it, competing at a high level, whether that’s business, art or film, athletics, anything you do, there’s a certain way to go about it. Being in the NBA, being successful, being able to win championships at the highest level in the world, there’s certain core values that you have, certain things you have to follow.”

Gen.G competes in several games, including League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm and the Los Angeles-based Overwatch League. How did this come about? Bosh developed a relationship with Gen.G co-founder and vice chairman Phillip Hyun. “We talked a lot and were just hanging, and he said, ‘Why don’t you come see what it is we’re doing with Gen.G?’ ” Bosh said. “I took my kids to watch, and it was pretty cool. Phillip asked if I wanted to become involved in some sort of way, and it just came together.”
2 years ago via ESPN

On Monday night, over 891,000 viewers tuned in for the first-ever Riot Games-sanctioned friendly match between two professional international teams: Clutch Gaming and Bilibili Gaming. To celebrate Clutch Gaming’s recently announced partnership with Chinese video sharing site Bilibili, the two squads faced off in one serious match, followed by a trio of unorthodox exhibitions. In the lone serious match of the night, Clutch Gaming, the Houston Rockets-owned 2018 North American League Championship Series newcomers, took home the win, destroying Bilibili Gaming’s nexus after thirty minutes of focused play. Though Clutch fielded a mixed squad featuring representatives of the organization’s LCS and Academy teams, the victory showed the depth of talent on the organization’s roster. The match featured strong performances by jungler Galen “Moon” Holgate and support Philippe “Vulcan” Laflamme.

If you could choose anyone to squad up with on COD, who would it be? Wagner: Probably my roommates from last year, Duncan Robsinon and my two other roommates. I’m not going to say their names because nobody knows them. It’s no secret that you’re a pretty expressive and emotional guy on the court. Are you the same way with other things like video games? Wagner: You don’t want to be around me. I curse a lot playing video games and all that stuff. I’m a very emotional guy. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad so I just try to find a happy medium, but so far it’s been good to me.

This week, Faried announced that he’s using the winnings to establish a foundation, Kenneth Faried HAT (for humble, appreciative, and thankful). “With the money I won for charity, I started a foundation called Kenneth Faried HAT. ‘HAT’ means humble, appreciative, and thankful,” he told Joe Lemire of SportsTechie. “I’ve been a person my whole life who believed that, through obstacles in life that you see, you may have good and bad, but you should always remain humble, appreciative, and thankful for everything—no matter what heights you reach in life or what you receive in this life.”

Kenneth Faried on Family (Video) Games: “I got into gaming because of my dad and, weirdly enough, my mom. My mom and my dad both were gamers. My mom has a TV in her room beside her bed where she has an Xbox she likes to play. My dad has his Xbox set up to his TV and uses it for the cable and knows how to do all that. He plays his Xbox with me—like we’ll play against each other in Madden or we’ll play with each other in Dynasty Warriors. I try to get him to play Fortnite, but he’s not real big into that. He likes sports games and RPG games. “I’ve got my parents all the way up to the Xbox One. We’re going to keep going. Whenever a new system drops, they’re going to get it with me. All those times they said, ‘Go on and go play your game and get out of my room’—it paid off with Fornite.”

Team Dignitas, the renowned esports franchise of the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment portfolio, has announced a multi-year partnership with global athletic apparel brand Champion Athleticwear, marking the brand’s first esports team and franchise partnership and foray into the esports ecosystem. Champion will become Team Dignitas’ Official Jersey, Casual Wear and Athletic Wear Provider, launching a new casual, fan-focused apparel line and online store alongside the franchise’s highly anticipated Fall 2018 rebrand. Acknowledging the growing women’s esports fan and player base, heightened by the popularity of Team Dignitas’ World Champion Women’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Team, Champion will develop a Team Dignitas-branded women’s apparel line. “The opportunity to partner with the apparel company that pioneered one of the most essential retail pieces in any esports player and fan’s wardrobe — the hoodie — is truly appropriate,” said Team Dignitas CEO Michael Prindiville.”

Hurst’s eyes have already returned to his screen, but he continued: “I would’ve driven it right down the lane,” where an undefended basket was awaiting him, he said. Hurst is 21 years old and plays NBA 2K professionally in a league funded by the NBA on a team affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks. He moved nearly 5,000 miles last April for this job, arriving in Dallas from Reading, England. You might play video games when you get off work; this is Hurst’s work, a job that pays him a $32,000 full-time salary for the league’s five-month duration. He’s likely among the best 100 players in the world. And still, even he can’t escape something that has plagued almost anyone who has ever picked up a controller: sometimes, the game just doesn’t do what you want it to do, damn it.

Jannis Neumann may have eight Dirk Nowitzki bobbleheads perched on his desk, but he had never actually met Nowitzki. On a Thursday earlier this month, after two morning scrimmages online, that changes thanks to an interview set up by a German television station. “If someone had told me I would meet Dirk, I would have told them they’re crazy,” Neumann said. This is Neumann’s first time living in the United States after growing up in northwest Germany, near the Netherlands border. He’s one of three international players on the roster – along with Ryan de Villon, or Devillon, from Toronto, Canada, and Hurst, from England – who relocated internationally.

Donohue said the season exceeded all the league’s expectations, pointing to weekly increases in viewership on Twitch, the streaming service popular with video-game players, and a social media presence that includes more than 1.6 million followers of the league and its teams on social media platforms. The league will continue to explore ways to find even more viewers. “Right now we’re on Twitch and we’re focused on being on Twitch. We’re focused on them being our partner for a long time,” Donohue said. “We’ll do whatever we can to make sure we get our product in front of as much of the globe as possible, so we’ll talk to partners about how they can help us do that.”

Knicks Gaming are your inaugural 2018 NBA 2K League champions. It’s about as improbable of a phrase as their come-from-behind, series-clinching win during Game 2 of the best-of-three series, as New York trailed by nine points in the fourth quarter – 11 at the end of the first half – to pick up the W on Saturday. In complete contrast to their finals opposition, Knicks Gaming put together a total team effort to claim victory. All five members scored in double figures, marking the first time such a feat occurred for Knicks Gaming during their shocking playoff run. Credit first and foremost goes to Finals MVP, NateKahl, who registered 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting while playing impeccable defense on Heat Check Gaming star forward Hotshot. Two critical three-pointers down the stretch by the “stretch” power forward helped push Knicks Gaming ahead in the contest, and without NateKahl’s defense throughout the multi-series contest it’s possible the outcome could be completely different than what occurred Saturday.

Save for NateKahl’s timely threes and excellent defense, the other major component behind Knicks Gaming’s turnaround was the rebounding prowess of center G O O F Y 757. Relegated to essentially the third or fourth scoring option most nights due to recent meta changes, Goofy’s rebounding literally saved New York in the fourth quarter. In one particularly pivotal sequence of events, Goofy corralled not one, not two, but three offensive rebounds, setting the stage for what would a clutch three-pointer for Knicks Gaming to push the deficit under five points. Given iamadamthe1st’s struggles from the field (12 points, 4-of-16 shooting), Goofy’s rebounding and scoring load (18 points on 9-of-14 shooting) was the difference between a series sweep and the possibility of extending to Game 3.
2 years ago via ESPN

Many owners believe that testing the format and giving owners not invested in esports outside of the 2K League a chance to experience the industry for the first time is healthy, according to sources. However, others have been disappointed by the viewership and engagement that have led to struggle in advertising and partnership sales, sources said. The $750,000 franchise fee for the 2K League and subsequent team operating costs are minuscule compared to the level of required capital to enter the more popular esports titles. The League Championship Series required its owners to commit to a multiyear contract that would see its teams pay $10 million to $13 million in franchises fees. The Overwatch League, in its first season, required $20 million over multiple years in franchise payments — and for its second season, it has sold teams for more than $35 million, sources said.
2 years ago via ESPN

The NBA is expected to welcome franchises owned by the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves to its NBA 2K League ahead of its second season, league sources told ESPN. The four franchises will join the 17 NBA teams who participated in the inaugural NBA 2K League season, which began in May and will conclude with its first finals event on Aug. 25 in New York. The expansion price for the second season is the same as the first, $750,000 for three years of participation, according to sources.

Gordon Hayward: It’s everywhere now. Everybody plays it. Bleacher Report came out with some article, saying Fortnite had just taken over NBA players’ lives. Pretty much every athlete I know has at least played a little. Everybody on our team plays. A lot of them play on consoles. Most of the athletes I know play on console. I don’t know as many people that play on PC. But another thing that is cool about Fortnite is you can play cross-console. So you can have someone on PS4 and they can be playing against me on PC. People on XBOX can be playing against people on PC. That’s pretty cool. There’s not a lot of games that are like that, and it gives a chance for PC players to play against console players.

Gordon Hayward: I was supposed to be in the Fortnite Pro-Am event, which is in LA right around E3, early June. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it because the second surgery had me immobile for that period of time. I heard it was a really cool event. They paired 50 pros with 50 celebrities. But it would be actually really fun to have an all-NBA Fortnite match or something. I’ve been playing for a few months now, so I’m pretty confident I could come out on top. In fact, I’d almost guarantee it, and I’d be happy to take on anyone from any other sport, too. Anybody up for the challenge?

Even though it had only been one month since the last time we spoke, Franklin’s life had continued to change in ways he never imagined and every day, he was creating incredible memories. The Sacramento Kings players who love video games quickly became friendly with the players on Kings Guard Gaming, which gave Franklin some cool stories he could tell his friends back home. “It’s crazy, man! Literally right before jumping on this phone call, I was playing Fortnite and De’Aaron Fox was just standing behind me, hanging out and watching me play,” he said. “He’s someone who has some of the most potential of any player in the NBA and here he is just being a cool, humble kid! That’s just one example. Jack Cooley has been really great to be around too. I really feel like one of the players. “

“When I was playing NBA 2K12, I consistently put in work every single day,” Franklin told HoopsHype. “Then, once I felt I was prepared and ready to face top competition, I started hitting up every Top-25 team and asking them to give me a chance. Back then, if you were on a Top-25 team, people in the 2K community knew who you were. I was just some random guy and nobody knew who I was, but I became a pest. I messaged every Top-25 team saying, ‘I know you don’t know me, but give me a chance. All I need is one tryout and I’ll show you that I’m one of the best.’ Then, I got a shot and earned a spot on the No. 3 team. Two years later, in NBA 2K14, GameBattles had a playoff with a $2,000 prize – the largest 2K prize pool in GameBattles history – and my team won that. After that, I really knew, ‘Yeah, this is for me.’ I became obsessed with it, doing anything I could push myself and become better.”

“If you told me this would happen 10 years ago, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy. Honestly, if you told me about all this two years ago, I would’ve said you’re insane,” Franklin told HoopsHype. “I’ve loved playing video games my whole life, but I wasn’t really serious about it – nothing like I am with 2K. The majority of my family goes hunting and fishing, but I’ve never enjoyed that. I always loved video games and was a natural at them. They finally stopped bringing me hunting because I’d bring my Game Boy out in the woods, and it would make all these noises and you’re supposed to be really quiet when you’re hunting (laughs). They finally got upset with me and stopped bringing me, so I guess I sort of won that war. But I always knew I wasn’t really into outdoor activities like that; I’ve always loved video games and I was always a sports fanatic, so to be able to play 2K for a living is a dream come true.”

Less than a year ago, Chris Toussaint was a high-school student who loved eSports, but he didn’t have any experience playing NBA 2K. Now, at 18 years old, he’s the general manager of Magic Gaming in the NBA 2K League. How did Toussaint get hired by the Orlando Magic and become the youngest person working in the 2K League? By sending a cold email to Director of Magic Gaming Ryan DeVos. “I reached out to the Magic and Ryan DeVos after I found his email by doing some research online,” Toussaint told HoopsHype. “I sent him a cold email, just like I had done so many times when I was starting out in the eSports world, and he actually responded. That led to a lunch meeting with Ryan, where I was able to talk a little bit about myself and what my aspirations are in this business. About two to three weeks later, I was at the final stages of my interview with the Magic to become the general manager of their 2K League team. Then, I was hired a few days later. This was back in October of 2017.”

“Chris reached out when he was with Misfits because he wanted to learn a little bit more about the 2K League in general and find out what I was working on from a Magic Gaming standpoint,” DeVos told HoopsHype. “Then, we connected more officially when Ben Spoont, the founder and CEO of Misfits, told me that Chris wanted to get into the team management side of things and passed him my way. We had a great rapport from the get-go. We really hit it off and we started working together from there. “I oversee the team and Chris reports to me, but I’m primarily focused on the business side of things. I’m trying to leave the gaming side of things to Chris as much as possible. It is just Chris and myself right now so it is all hands on deck, but I’m mainly focused on the business partnerships, PnL management and things like that.”

“I’m 18 years old working for the Orlando Magic; I believe I’m one of the youngest employees to be hired by an NBA team on the management side,” Toussaint said. “I want to document this story. I’m learning so much about the world while doing something awesome that I’m passionate about. One of the things that I want to do is create my own content, capturing the best and worst moments of this journey so I can share it with the world. I want to show what eSports is like behind the scenes. People see the tournaments and prize money and all of that, but they don’t see everything else that goes into it. These guys are fierce competitors who care so much about winning, just like their NBA counterparts. I want to capture this journey, from my perspective as a manager and team coach. That’s one of my goals.”

Jeff Terrell: I’m thankful to be in the position I am in. We’re excited but understand this is just the beginning. We still have a long way to go and have a lot of things we can improve on. It’s surreal to be the first ever @NBA2KLeague tournament Champs! Thanks for all the support. #together

76ers Gaming Club have announced that they have signed Jeff Terrell as the head coach for their 2K League team, who will look after not only player management but also the performance of the team as well as their practice scheduled. “We are excited to name Jeff Terrell as the head coach of 76ers Gaming Club,” 76ers GC General Manager Michael Lai said. “Jeff stood out to us immediately, having both an intimate knowledge of the competitive NBA 2K scene and extensive experience coaching traditional basketball. Beyond his experience, Jeff demonstrated a thoughtful approach to the game that will put our players in a position to succeed. We are delighted to have him as our coach, and I look forward to working with him toward our goal of winning a championship.”

The Cavaliers weren’t the only Cleveland basketball team to win in thrilling fashion Tuesday. The city’s first pro esports team Cavs Legion GC did it too. In their first-ever game in the NBA 2K League, Sick (Jerry Knapp) took a pass from Hood (Brandon Caicedo) on a drive and kick and hit a game-winning three-pointer with 3.2 seconds left for a 76-63 victory over Kings Gaming. Hood, Cavs Legion’s top pick in the draft, finished the game with 41 points and 8 assists.
More HoopsHype Rumors
July 13, 2020 | 11:39 am EDT Update
Rivers: If he was in an era 10 years ago, Boban would be a big-time player. He’s just in an era where he’s 10 years too late. And he’s still in the league doing his thing, but make no mistake about it, if he was in 2003, 2006, Boban would be a force to be reckoned with. Van Gundy: I’ve always wondered if I, you know, should’ve played him more. You get so concerned with the defensive end of the floor, but with what he can do offensively, I’m not sure we wouldn’t have been better off playing him more and dealing with whatever defensive problems came up.
Van Gundy: The guy gets no privacy, yet the way he responds to people is so good and with such generosity and such kindness to people. You would think at some point you would get really, really tired of it, and he may, but he certainly never shows that and I never even heard him convey that. It’s genuine. He’s not out there faking it, and then walking around saying, “I’m really tired of this s— with everybody bugging me.” I think he genuinely enjoys being around people.
Kaminsky: The first time I ever played against Boban, we were playing in San Antonio. Tyler Hansbrough was on my team at the time. … And Boban checks into the game, and he’s standing next to him at the free-throw line, and I’m trying to talk to him, but Tyler’s standing there staring up at him, like, This is the biggest guy I’ve ever seen in my life. Literally, there’s a video, I’m standing on that side of the lane trying to get his attention, he’s just standing there, like, [Kaminsky pauses, leans back, looks upwards, mouth agape, miming what Hansbrough looked like].
The league’s first crack at sponsored entertainment for the players fell flat. On Saturday night, the NBA brought in three disc jockeys to spin records at poolside parties at each of the three Disney hotels housing players. Almost no one showed. “The first time I heard about the DJ thing was (Sunday),” Davis said. “Dwight (Howard) told me he was the only one there. I think, quite frankly, a lot of guys didn’t know about it. I know the NBA is trying to make this as comfortable as possible and as relaxing as possible for us, and just make everyone feel as home as possible.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Another African American senior league executive, speaking anonymously, asked why Eversley didn’t get interviewed for the top job. “With all due respect, I am delighted that Marc Eversley is the GM of the Bulls,” the league executive said. “But why wasn’t Marc Eversley interviewed to be the president of basketball operations? Why was there no one of color interviewed for that position? You mean to tell me that there was nobody in the mind of the leadership of the Bulls qualified to take on that job as president? Or was it just that they don’t know anybody? “So the question I’m asking is what took them so long. Somebody needs to ask the question. That question needs to be asked more and more league-wide.”
As in any industry, connectivity is imperative, and often times cultural perspective can get ignored. But that perspective is pivotal in every aspect of NBA business, from scouting to coaching to negotiations. “It’s a relationship business,” the Western Conference exec said. “You’ve got to have relationships with the players and coaches. For all of us to be connected in some form or fashion it only bodes well. There should be no separation. Everyone should be working together to push the franchise forward and win.”
Pocius went on to play for Real Madrid and Galatasaray — a team in Istanbul — with two more stints with Zalgiris Kaunas sandwiched in between. Seven years into his playing carer, Pocius initially had no intention of stopping. However, his body had a different idea. “Since I played at Duke, I had had seven surgeries,” Pocius said. “It took a toll on my body and I was in this cycle of getting injured, having surgery, trying rehab, all to come back and then have it happen all over again … I was reaching a point where I wasn’t enjoying basketball as much as I used to. I was a gym rat and I loved the gym, and it wasn’t fun being there anymore.”
Connelly looked at Pocius and said, “Well, if you just want to retire and come join us, we’ll make that happen.” Pocius thought it was a joke. And at that time, retiring seemed far-fetched. But after he made the decision to stop playing Pocius reached out to Connelly to see if the offer was still on the table. “I flew out to Las Vegas for Summer League and I met with Tim and all the other guys and one thing led to another,” Pocius said. “I’m truly happy that I decided to retire when I did.”
July 13, 2020 | 9:17 am EDT Update
Alex Poythress joined Zenit Saint-Petersburg on a one-year deal, the Russian club announced on Monday. Eurohoops previously reported on the deal between the two parties. “I am very pleased to join Zenit, an organization that plans to make a breakthrough in EuroLeague this season,” he noted upon signing per the official site of his new team, “I heard a lot of amazing things about Saint-Petersburg and can’t wait to join the team.”
Storyline: Alex Poythress Free Agency
Three weeks ahead of the NBA’s planned resumption of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort, the league’s Global Innovation Group is considering several scenarios for next season, including one that would begin in March and run through October 2021. An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule.
The document spells out a wide variety of “levers” the league could pull in developing its plans for next season depending on the state of the pandemic. These include holding a play-in tournament for the playoffs, playing with the timing of a potential All-Star Game, rolling schedule releases, increasing game density, building in buffers for canceled or rescheduled games and potentially using alternate sites like neutral markets or practice and G League facilities. One plan, which is contingent on an improving COVID-19 situation, would essentially involve the league putting on a traditional 82-game regular season, just bumped back from its usual October start date. It would feature a traditional schedule release and standard matchups (16 games against divisional opponents, 36 nondivisional intraconference games and 30 interconference games).
“Ron Adams is our resident – is oenophile correct?”Kerr asked on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “In fact, when I interviewed Ron to come aboard with the Warriors in 2014, my assistant Nick U’Ren and I took Ron out to dinner to interview him. We ordered a bottle of wine. It was an Italian restaurant. They didn’t have any California Pinots, which is what we were looking for. And the waiter said, ‘You know, if you want, I’ll bring you kind of the Italian version of a Pinot.’ We said great. “So he brings back the wine, he opens it up, he gives Ron the taste – you know, how you swish it around (in your mouth)? Well, Ron became the first person I’ve ever been to dinner with who sent the wine back. On a job interview!”
The Detroit opportunity comes with a pretty dismal short-term outlook, but it also could be more promising in the longer term. Sources tell me owner Tom Gores has been willing to spend money on the things fans don’t see (staff, scouting, training resources) that make life a lot easier for a rebuilding team. Additionally, the team is at a pretty clear transition point for Weaver to put his stamp on the team. The post-Blake Griffin-trade delusions of grandeur have been replaced by the grim acknowledgment that this team needs to rebuild and it could take a while.
July 13, 2020 | 9:15 am EDT Update
Alex Poythress joined Zenit Saint-Petersburg on a one-year deal, the Russian club announced on Monday. Eurohoops previously reported on the deal between the two parties. “I am very pleased to join Zenit, an organization that plans to make a breakthrough in EuroLeague this season,” he noted upon signing per the official site of his new team, “I heard a lot of amazing things about Saint-Petersburg and can’t wait to join the team.”
Storyline: Alex Poythress Free Agency
Three weeks ahead of the NBA’s planned resumption of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort, the league’s Global Innovation Group is considering several scenarios for next season, including one that would begin in March and run through October 2021. An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule.
The document spells out a wide variety of “levers” the league could pull in developing its plans for next season depending on the state of the pandemic. These include holding a play-in tournament for the playoffs, playing with the timing of a potential All-Star Game, rolling schedule releases, increasing game density, building in buffers for canceled or rescheduled games and potentially using alternate sites like neutral markets or practice and G League facilities. One plan, which is contingent on an improving COVID-19 situation, would essentially involve the league putting on a traditional 82-game regular season, just bumped back from its usual October start date. It would feature a traditional schedule release and standard matchups (16 games against divisional opponents, 36 nondivisional intraconference games and 30 interconference games).
“Ron Adams is our resident – is oenophile correct?”Kerr asked on this week’s “Hoops, Adjacent” podcast. “In fact, when I interviewed Ron to come aboard with the Warriors in 2014, my assistant Nick U’Ren and I took Ron out to dinner to interview him. We ordered a bottle of wine. It was an Italian restaurant. They didn’t have any California Pinots, which is what we were looking for. And the waiter said, ‘You know, if you want, I’ll bring you kind of the Italian version of a Pinot.’ We said great. “So he brings back the wine, he opens it up, he gives Ron the taste – you know, how you swish it around (in your mouth)? Well, Ron became the first person I’ve ever been to dinner with who sent the wine back. On a job interview!”
The Detroit opportunity comes with a pretty dismal short-term outlook, but it also could be more promising in the longer term. Sources tell me owner Tom Gores has been willing to spend money on the things fans don’t see (staff, scouting, training resources) that make life a lot easier for a rebuilding team. Additionally, the team is at a pretty clear transition point for Weaver to put his stamp on the team. The post-Blake Griffin-trade delusions of grandeur have been replaced by the grim acknowledgment that this team needs to rebuild and it could take a while.
July 13, 2020 | 2:18 am EDT Update
Malone would not confirm if Bol, 20, will be available to play when seeding games begin Aug. 1 against the Miami Heat. But it’s clear the Nuggets remain extremely bullish about his future. “To see (Bol) out there playing and doing things a lot of people can’t do is really remarkable,” Malone said. “He is extremely talented and skilled. You cannot teach 7-foot-2, you cannot teach a 7-foot-9 wingspan, and the soft touch that he has. He’s getting stronger, he’s getting healthier, and right now it’s good to see him compete against some of the other players that we have down here.
Irving spoke with his sister Asia in an Instagram live chat to discuss the latest Kyrie 6 colorway that she designed. Irving is well-aware that critics and NBA fans have been making fun of him for his eye-brow raising antics. But for him, what matters most is what he’s been doing over the past decade for the basketball community and society. “It’s about on the court, look at my resume, look at the classics, look at my art,” he said. “I created it for going on 10-plus years now. Don’t play with me. Don’t play with what I do on a day in and day out basis to provide and go out there and create.”
“I didn’t know what to decide: Should I have a social justice message or should I have my last name there? I just think my last name is something that is very important to me,” he said. “Also social justice as well. But just holding my family name and representing the name on the back to go through this process and my name and people who’ve been with me through my entire career to help me get to this point. While still kind of bringing up things that we can do for social injustice.”