Fortnite and the NBA are teaming up in a significant virtual collaboration. Dubbed “Fortnite x NBA: The Crossover,” the event coincides with the start of the 2021 NBA postseason. On Friday, players will be able to equip NBA outfits for all 30 teams, and on May 25th can visit a “NBA Welcome Hub” in Fortnite’s Creative Mode, where NBA-themed experiences and content will reside. Player “Locker Bundles” will also be part of the drop, featuring Utah Jazz Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell and Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young. The pair will share their personal favorite items to equip while playing Fortnite and these items will be digitized and available for sale in the Fortnite Item Shop next week.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic has broken away from a deal with EA Sports, and he has signed with 2K. No details were revealed on the new agreement, but it makes Doncic the favorite to be the cover athlete for NBA 2K22. Doncic was officially named the cover athlete for NBA Live Mobile back in December 2019, but nothing has materialized for the console version of the brand.
“Man, this is crazy,” Andre Smith told his big brother. “I’m really about to be in the league.” “The league?” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma shot back. “You’re not in the league. I’m in THE league.” They might both be right — in very different ways. Franchises from the NBA’s 2K League will fill their teams with the best virtual basketball players ahead of the league’s fourth season with its annual draft on Saturday. Smith will be in the player pool of around 250 gamers hoping to land one of the 63 available roster spots.
Kuzma, an avid gamer who has been traveling this season with a video game monitor, saw Smith’s skills explode in a very unbrotherly whooping in the sport Kuzma plays professionally at the highest level. “It wasn’t fun playing with him. … But eventually as time grew and he got a lot better at it. About two years ago, he finally beat me in ‘2K’ for the first time,” Kuzma said. “… He kicked my ass. I was like, damn. This dude got better.”
The NBA 2K growth was in line with the broader esports industry, which drew in 485 million viewers in 2020, an 11.7% increase from 2019, according to Newzoo, while revenue rose 15.7% to $1.1 billion. “The NBA teams certainly can drive local revenue, selling partnerships, selling content, and selling merchandise,” Donohue said. “The model that exists on the NBA side for the most part carries over to the 2K side.” In three years the 2K League has inked partnerships with AT&T, Snickers, New Era Caps, Panera Bread and more.
Simmons isn’t wasting any time growing into his role as a spokesperson. The Sixers guard will be one of the keynote speakers on day three of the ESports Business Summit next month. The event will be held virtually October 27-29, but for someone who can sometimes be the first one out of the Sixers locker room after games, and is often guarded with how he is portrayed and who has access to him, Simmons is more than comfortable in the gaming world.