Storyline: NBA 2K League

95 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.”

Basketball fans missing their live game action can at least look forward to some virtual competition as the 2020 NBA 2K League tips off next week. The esports league has announced its regular season will begin on Tuesday, May 5 with at least six weeks of remote gameplay. All 23 NBA 2K League teams will play games remotely from their local markets, with the games simulcast live on the 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Four best-of-three matches are scheduled every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night over the six-week period. Each series will count as a regular-season win or loss.

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.

That tournament kicked off with four games Friday. Four of the 16 participants moved on, and the results were as follows: No. 16 Derrick Jones Jr. 78, No. 1 Kevin Durant 62. No. 10 DeAndre Ayton 57, No. 7 Zach LaVine 41. No. 2 Trae Young 101, No. 15 Harrison Barnes 59. No. 14 Patrick Beverley 84, No. 3 Hassan Whiteside 54. With one day of games in the books, here are our biggest takeaways from the NBA’s attempt to provide fans with some sort of live content while actual games remain on hiatus.

The NBA 2K League was set to tip off its third season on March 24, before delaying play over safety concerns relating to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now, the esports organization is preparing to host a three-on-three online tournament involving fans, social media influencers, and top 2K gamers this weekend instead. A combined prize pool of $25,000 for Playstation 4 and Xbox One X brackets will be awarded to teams participating in the NBA 2KL Three for All Showdown. The one-week tournament will be completed in two stages, with only fan-led teams competing initially. NBA 2K League franchises, influencers, and top female gamers – selected from the NBA 2K’s women’s development camp introduced last summer – will join on March 31 to compete against fans.

The NBA 2K League kicked off in 2018 with an interesting premise: a group of professional teams, each affiliated with an NBA squad, playing a virtual rendition of the sport. Now, after two seasons, the league is looking to expand beyond the NBA with a new club based in Shanghai. The Chinese team will be the first in the league based outside of North America and the first not operated by an NBA team. The currently unnamed squad will be owned and operated by Gen.G, a multigame e-sports organization that currently has teams in PUBG, Fortnite, League of Legends, and also owns the Seoul Dynasty of the Overwatch League. The Shanghai team will join the league in 2020, and it will be based out of Gen.G’s Los Angeles office. Like all other 2K League teams, it will play games at the league’s studio in New York.

The NBA 2K League kicked out one of its players on Thursday after discovering violations of the league’s anti-gambling policies. Basil Rose, also known as 24K Dropoff, had played for Heat Check Gaming, the esports franchise of the NBA’s Miami Heat. A statement from the 2K League said Rose “violated the league’s rules against tipping on NBA 2K League games by providing inside information to an individual who Rose knew was involved in betting on NBA 2K league games.”

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.”

The 2019 NBA 2K League Draft marks the beginning of the second season of the NBA 2K League. The draft was held on Wednesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York where a total of 75 players were selected for the 21 teams. Jazz Gaming selected Spencer “Ria” Wyman from Washington with the first overall pick. With Shaka “Yeah I Compete” Browne and Demar “Deedz” Butler returning for the Jazz at point guard and power forward, respectively, locking in a flexibile Center like Ria was what many people expected.

Someone put a microphone in front of her and asked her how it felt. That’s when she finally choked up. “It changes everything,” she said. “It means everything to me.” Evans became the first woman ever drafted into the NBA 2K League on Tuesday night, going in the fourth round to Warriors Gaming, which is operated by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. A former college and semipro basketball player, Evans is now the esports league’s first female pro, one of the 126 players who will make between $33,000 to $37,000 per season, plus benefits and team housing.

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.

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.

Magic Gaming is set to play its first games on Thursday, May 3 as part of “THE TIPOFF” tournament. All games will be streamed live on Twitch. “THE TIPOFF” tournament schedule runs May 1-5. “THE TIPOFF” will officially begin the 15-week regular season, which features both weekly games and tournaments, and concludes with the NBA 2K League Playoffs and Finals in August. All competition will take place at the NBA 2K League Studio Powered by Intel in New York City.
2 years ago via ESPN

My video game participation peaked with Goldeneye for Nintendo 64. Even so, those of us with an interest in court design awaited what NBA teams might do with their virtual floors. They could be more adventurous, and if some nutty out-of-the-box gamble resonated, perhaps they might one day incorporate it into real NBA games featuring real humans playing real basketball. ESPN obtained an exclusive first look at the finished courts. Here they are, in alphabetical order, with some instant analysis: 76ers Gaming Club. Philly may have the NBA’s best top-to-bottom art. The mix of blue, red, and clean nods to history always works. This is a little more audacious, and doesn’t quite match Philly’s usual standards. The empty paint trend mostly phased out of the NBA over the last two or three years, but as we’re going to see, it (unfortunately) returns with a vengeance in the virtual NBA. Lightly shaded logos within each 3-point arc are very much in — see Denver and New Orleans in real life — but this version is clunky. There are just too many shaded objects competing for your eye’s attention.

The headsets will be worn by both players and casters during all live gameplay throughout the course of the season, including weekly matchups, three in-season tournaments, playoffs and the NBA 2K League Finals “We want NBA 2K League players to have best-in-class equipment, and when it comes to headsets, HyperX is second to none,” NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue said. “Communicating with teammates during play is vital for success and partnering with HyperX will allow our players to compete at their best.”

Cavs Legion Gaming Club will tip off its inaugural season in the NBA 2K League with three games on Tuesday. Cleveland’s first professional esports team begin play in the league’s first tournament by taking on Sacramento’s Kings Guard Gaming at 6 p.m. and Milwaukee’s Bucks Gaming at 7 p.m. before closing out the night against Detroit’s Pistons Gaming Team at 10 p.m. All games will be played at the NBA 2K League studio in New York City and streamed live on Twitch.

Woods, 18, is the youngest player in the league. He made the call to drop out of University of Tennessee-Martin. First-round picks will make $35,000; others will make $32,000. One million dollars in prize money will be at stake over the course of the season. The playoff pool is $600,000 with the league champion receiving $300,000. Eight teams reach the postseason. “(My parents) let me drop out to go for it and just told me to try my best. If I want to change up, I can go back to school,” Woods said. “You can always go to school, but not everybody gets the chance to be a professional gamer. I want to do this. God forbid that I have to go back, I can always go back.”

Leonsis sees the NBA as a platform, like Facebook — “the good Facebook,” he said Monday morning. And he expects 2K teams will become part of that platform, both as a revenue-generator and a content-provider, along with an owners’ NBA, WNBA and G League teams. “In the short term, it will help us in marketing and help us be more relevant to a younger audience,” Leonsis said. “It will also help us globally. The Twitches and YouTubes are unwired, and available to people around the world.”

“eSports will be a boon for traditional media,” Leonsis said. “The two drivers of revenue and fan affinity will be digital sports and digital gaming and gambling. Outside of the U.S., digital gambling is accepted. You go do digital gambling like you would go to a Starbucks … if you look at things like Draft Kings, if you put a virtual team together, you watch all of the games. You’re really interested. When casual fans bet on games, like the NCAA Tournament or the Super Bowl, the viewership stays really high.”

Now Thomallari has a salary to go with his video-game talents. Along with the other first-round selections, he will be paid $35,000 for the 17-week season. The draft went six rounds, and each team selected a starting lineup and one back-up. Players picked outside of the first round will be paid $32,000 for the season. All players will receive standard medical benefits, as well as housing in Boston paid for by the league (rather than the Celtics). “Fourteen months ago, there was no path to pro,” NBA 2K League commissioner Brendan Donohue told reporters in Boston on Friday. “To go from there to where they are now is great.”

The NBA 2K League postseason begins on August 17 and runs for two weeks. The seven teams with the best regular-season record and the winner of the final tournament are guaranteed spots. If the tournament winner already has a berth based on record, then the top eight teams will make the playoffs. The final tournament allows a team that gets hot to steal a spot away from a bubble team. The quarterfinals will be single-elimination play. The semifinals and NBA 2K League Finals will be best of three. The entire prize pool for the playoffs will be $600,000 and the NBA 2K League champion receives $300,000 of that prize. That means each player on the winning team could secure an additional $50,000 to go with their $35,000 or $32,000 salary, tournament winnings, housing, food, transportation and endorsements.

Yesterday’s draft was the first real step on that journey. It was a promising start, but just that: a start. Silver said he expects that all 30 NBA franchises will field esports teams by the third year of the gaming league — another sign that the NBA and Take-Two are in this for the long haul. But that’s a long way off. “Things aren’t going to be perfect in the beginning, but we’ve just got to get out there,” said Silver during the press conference. “We’ve got to begin operating, and we’ll learn as we’ll go.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
May 30, 2020 | 7:44 am EDT Update
The NBA is planning to resume play on July 31, according to media reports on Friday, and that can’t come soon enough for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton. “I would love to get back on the court, to get back with my team and just get that camaraderie back again,” Sexton told Justin Felder of WAGA-TV in Atlanta this week. “I know we just got a new coach, so we’re just pretty much trying to understand how he is and how he’s going to coach. Those games are definitely going to help us and help our future. If they say we can go play, let’s do it. I’m all for it. … “I definitely want to go out there and just work on my game, do some things and just whatever the team needs for us to win that game because I like to compete. I’m a competitor, and no matter the stage and no matter the game I’m going to come in each and every day ready to go.”
Despite not being a player for Washington, MJ use to come to practices and play. Hamilton and Laron Profit would often play Jordan and trash talk him. Until one day Profit stepped over the line after he got the better of the Bulls legend in one play. “Me and Prof [Laron Profit] used to play with him [Jordan] all the time,” Hamilton remembered. “We used to talk trash to MJ all the time but there were certain things that I wouldn’t say. And Prof sometimes would say a little of extra stuff that I wouldn’t go there.” “I remember when one time when we were playing in practice. And Prof might have hit a shot on MJ and he was like running down court “You can’t guard me with them old-ass knees.” And I’m like “Oh, stop, time out!” You don’t say that to the GOAT. MJ was heated.” Jordan was so mad that he traded Profit to the Orlando Magic.
Garza, who has entered the 2020 NBA draft while retaining his eligibility, told ESPN he’ll make his decision about returning to school or turning pro based on the conversations and interviews he’ll have with NBA executives in the coming weeks and months. He said the inability to meet with the NBA’s power brokers for workouts — if the current situation persists — will play a role in his decision. “I think it all depends on what teams are telling me in these interviews and what they’re seeing on film,” said Garza, the Wooden Award runner-up after averaging 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season. “I’m not leaving for an unknown or an uncertain.
Storyline: Draft Early Entries
May 30, 2020 | 2:12 am EDT Update
But it’s logical to think that those positions will at least be areas of interest for New York in the offseason. The New York Post reported that Rose told the Knicks in March that finding a scoring guard was the top priority in the draft and a shooting guard was the second priority. An SNY source said finding a forward who can knock down a shot — in the draft or free agency — is one item on the Knicks’ list.
One thing that achieved widespread consensus was the need for teams to have more flexibility with their rosters no matter how the league chooses to resume play. When asked if the playoffs should have expanded rosters or teams should have more of an ability to replace players sidelined by injury or illness, only two teams voted for neither option. Twelve voted for expanded rosters, and 16 voted for an increased ability to replace players who are injured or sick.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
“I’ve had some great players and I’ve never had one player that I have said is untradeable,” Karl told the Sacramento media at the time. “You always got to be ready for the possibility of a great trade that could come your way.” That statement didn’t sit well with the players, specifically Cousins or his agent, who had issues with the coaching legend in the past. Karl would later apologize for the comment, but not before trying to move his star player during the summer, which Walberg confirmed during the taping of the podcast. “The thought was maybe to try to do what we did in Denver when they flipped Carmelo, that changed Denver pretty big time,” Walberg explained. “See if there is somebody out there that would want to flip DeMarcus.” According to Walberg, then general manager Pete D’Alessandro was in the room for the discussion. He would leave the Kings organization shortly thereafter and made it known, at least to his new employers in Denver, that Cousins was on the block.
We would find out afterward that minutes before the media was allowed in, Cousins had unloaded on Karl in dramatic fashion. “As soon as [Karl] walks in DeMarcus just goes off, I mean, off,” Walberg explained. “Coach hasn’t even said a word and it’s ‘F you coach, you think you’re an F-ing Hall of Fame coach, all the hell you care about is your wins, you don’t give a s–t about us.’” According to Walberg, the rant from Cousins went on for nearly a minute. When the coaching staff went to management the next day expecting a 3-5 game suspension, they instead walked away understanding that Cousins wouldn’t be punished and their days as a coaching staff in Sacramento were numbered.
As we prepared to interview players, rap mogul Drake walked through a side door and into the locker room with owner Vivek Ranadivé and team executive Vlade Divac. The surreal scene played out in real time, as Drake tried to work the room and greet a completely silent locker room. His arrival was not well-received by the players ,and lasted only a minute or two before Drake hugged Cousins and then left the building. According to both Karl and Walberg, this was the beginning of the end for the coaching staff. “It was probably the rudest, the worst I’ve ever seen of any game in my life, what happened in that locker room after we played San Antonio that night,” Walberg explained.
“DeMarcus and I had a confrontation after the game and we meet the next morning and we have a long serious talk that we can turn this into a win,” Karl recalls. “Because we’ve got to suspend DeMarcus and whatever it is, for two or three games, and maybe he’ll wake up that he can’t be the boss. We went in and fought very hard that we had to suspend him.” That’s not the direction the franchise chose to take. Instead, they sided with Cousins and allowed him to resume playing under Karl. The message was clear. “How are you going to have control in the locker room when you’ve got a player that can say and do what he wants?” Walberg said.
One source said the idea of bringing back 20 teams — possibly a few more, but not all 30 — continues to resonate as the most likely scenario. Another plan discussed Friday, the source said, would bring any team within six games of a playoff spot back for the resumption of the season, a scenario where bassed on the current standings 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference would return.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
The league has polled its general managers, who largely have voted with self-interest as a motivator. Reportedly, 53% of the general managers voted for the return to include only the 16 teams in playoff position. However, the general managers are under the impression that their opinions are merely that — opinions. League sources believe Silver, with broadcast partners and medical advisors shaping his thinking, ultimately will be the one to make the decision about how the NBA resumes play.
Lillard got a boost from Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes on Friday, with the veteran NBA champion backing up the Blazers star on Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck’s podcast “Full 48” (via SB Nation’s Sactown Royalty): “I think Dame is right. If you come back and play, you want to be playing for something.” “There’s no other simulation that we can get for games. This group, where we’re at, we need to play, we need to play together, and playing for something is important.”
Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter said that while he and his Celtics teammates are looking forward to getting back on the floor, he mentions a friend on another team that is not exactly excited to play basketball right now: “This is my ninth year in the league, I have so many friends on different teams, right?” Kanter said on his podcast, via NBC Sports Boston. “I was actually talking to one of my friends and he said — I’m not going to tell who or which team — but he said, ‘There’s so many guys on our team, they’re not going to play.’ They’re actually in the Eastern Conference, they’re in a playoff spot, and they’re like superstars. Like, if I tell you who it is, you’d go crazy.”

Eric Gordon has lost weight

Gordon generally keeps to himself and has never been a huge social media presence but don’t take that as a sign that he isn’t working, because he is. According to a team source, Gordon has already lost 12 pounds off his frame by way of track sprints and diet. There’s a hope that with the weight that has come off him, he’ll be able to prevent further injury to his knees.
Speaking to Chris Long on the “Green Light” podcast on Friday, the now Golden State Warriors head coach detailed that there was definitely more to it than what was shown in “The Last Dance.” “I had a different memory from what Michael described on the show,” Kerr shared. “My memory was that Phil had gone upstairs to his office while we were scrimmaging because he had to take a phone call from the league or something, and that’s when we got into it. So, Phil came down to see what was going on. And I remember him coming over to me, he goes, ‘You’re gonna have to clean that up.’ And I go, ‘My eye or my relationship with Michael?’
May 29, 2020 | 7:47 pm EDT Update
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson spoke at a rally Friday afternoon in Minneapolis in remembrance of his friend George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody after pleading that he could not breathe. “I’m here because they’re not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin,” Jackson told supporters. “A lot of times, when police do things they know that’s wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up, and bring up their background — to make it seem like the bulls— that they did was worthy. When was murder ever worthy? But if it’s a black man, it’s approved.”
May 29, 2020 | 7:41 pm EDT Update
On Thursday, the University of Michigan released a study claiming that HGH could aid in the recovery of torn ACLs by preventing the loss of muscle strength in knees. Cuban funded that study, and went on to argue on its behalf on Twitter. “It’s time to recognize that HGH (Human Growth Hormone) can positively impact injury recovery,” Cuban wrote. “I funded this study so that athletes can get back to full strength and doing what they love.”
On an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump Friday, Cuban argued that the only reason HGH is banned by the NBA is because the World Anti-Doping Association banned it. “There really was no research or complete logic for doing it,” Cuban said. “So a couple of years ago, I said, ‘look, if there’s no data there to dismiss HGH, let’s find out if it can help for injury recovery because it’s been discussed as having that ability.’ So I worked with the University of Michigan and we put together a study, and as it turned out, comparing athletes vs. a placebo, there was a significant improvement in their recovery time and getting back to full strength. And so now, this is the first step towards offering data and hopefully the NBA, the Olympics and other leagues will look at this and say ‘let’s do some more studies.’ I’m willing to get involved with more studies financially, but if we can get the leagues to do it, the players I think will all be for it as long as you can prove that it’s safe.”
“Our hearts are filled with sadness, disgust and overall frustration as we continue to process the tragic and senseless acts of violence towards yet another individual of the African American community. Our sincere condolences go out to the members of the Floyd family and those who came to know and love him. This is a very important time in our history and the images of this incident as well as the countless others will blister a lasting image in our minds forever. What’s happening in our country today has left an emotional strain and unfortunately has shaped how we conduct our lives on a daily basis. We should not have to live in fear.”
Dr. Valerie Williams-Goss: Recently, my son, Nigel Williams Goss, was drafted into the NBA. When word got around that my son played professional basketball, I heard a plethora of racist comments congratulating me for having a white son playing in a predominately black sport. I had to tell countless people that my son is biracial and then used those moments to educate even my racist clients about what their words and behaviors meant to the world and how hurtful they were. I risked my job many times by confronting people about racist comments they were making, but I could not have kept silent because it was my job to speak up.
Dr. Valerie Williams-Goss: Since Nigel has been a professional athlete and has more money and nicer things, he has been stopped by the police more, asked senseless questions about where he got his car, why he was driving in that area, whether he has a license, all of the typical racist experiences other black drivers go through. However, I cannot interrupt that behavior. I cannot educate the officer harassing my son. I cannot tell my son what to say or how to act to the police, because I am fully aware that he could be doing nothing at all and still be killed. That is the reality that all mothers of brown children face.
May 29, 2020 | 6:35 pm EDT Update
Mark Cuban offered his predictions on ESPN’s “The Jump”. First: Aug. 1 will likely be the latest date the NBA could restart its season without significantly hampering future seasons, Cuban said. To calculate his timeline, Cuban “works backward” from the 2020-21 season, which he is in favor of starting on Christmas, rather than in late October under the league’s traditional calendar.
Storyline: NBA Schedule
“We can start playing in August, for that matter, because we don’t have all the travel restrictions,” Cuban said. “Everyone [will be] in probably one location. You don’t have to fly across the country, give everybody one day off. You can play multiple games in one day. You can compress it in ways we never were able to before, so I don’t think there’s a drop-dead date. … Starting by Aug. 1 in order to make it, so that gives us plenty of time.”
“Unique circumstances, unique opportunities,” Cuban said. “I’m confident we’ll take advantage of it and do something differently. … As long as you give players something to play for, they’ll recognize that this is an opportunity because it’s not inconceivable that a team that was at the bottom of the standings can all of sudden make a run and get hot. And really, coming back like this favors younger teams because it’s going to be easier for a young player to get back and get that athleticism going and get ready than it is for an older player, so anything’s possible.”
The death of George Floyd, the resulting firing of four Minneapolis policemen, the ensuing rioting and the ongoing racial tensions left Udonis Haslem compelled to turn to Instagram earlier this week to share thoughts that he understands will be viewed through numerous prisms. “I have close friends and family in law enforcement,” the 39-year-old lifelong South Florida resident posted. “This doesn’t apply to everyone. There’s a lot of [bad] people in this world, but I’m the first to tell you there’s some damn good ones wearing that badge and we appreciate y’all.”
Haslem offered perspective on the Minneapolis situation and the questioning of law enforcement. “I just think people have got to be very careful about how they move, based on what they just saw,” he said of painting all of law enforcement with the same broad brush. “You’ve got to be very careful, because if somebody breaks into your house and it’s a burglar, who you gonna call? So I think, people just got to be very cautious about what they’re saying and how they’re reacting to it.”