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What is the NBA 2K League – December edition


By Aaron Callaghan


The Green Release NBA 2K Basketball Blog receives multiple DM’s on Twitter weekly from aspiring esports competitors inquiring about how they can be involved or more importantly picked in the NBA 2K League Draft. So here it is including analysis of Brendan Donohue’s Reddit AMA. I jump in and out of formal writing techniques, please forgive me, I have some things I wanted to get off my chest.



As most people are aware, 17 NBA teams will be playing an esports league through early to mid 2018. There will be a draft, shared housing, salaries, benefits related to the utilisation of NBA facilities such as the gym and trainers and most importantly the opportunity to leverage yourself off the NBA brand. The league is rumoured to run for approximately 16 weeks, with elimination tournaments intermingled (read: Unconfirmed, unsubstantiated rumours), from April/May through until August.

Brendan Donohue the NBA 2K League’s Managing Director, today held court for a Reddit AMA, Brandan and the league should be commended for using Reddit to release this information, it is entirely on brand with the NBA 2K League, NBA 2K and the medium hits the core of the league’s target demographic.

So, how will the Tryout work?

Players who a copy of NBA 2K18 on PS4 and/or XBOX will be able to compete in round one of the tryout and it’s simple. Register your interest via an online application form, download the patched in tryout game mode and win 50 games of Pro-Am in either team form or walk-on. Fill out the form, win 50 games and move into February. Simple right? Details are yet to come with what February has in-store for aspiring NBA 2K League stars, however a deeper analysis of players skills and abilities will occur. Mr Donohue said “We’re committed to equal opportunity for everyone”, reaffirming the league’s commitment to finding the best players.

Fill out the form, win 50 games and move into February. Simple right?

The Draft will be an interesting process, the draft order even more interesting. The live draft will be presumably streamed. Players will receive a guaranteed salary, housing and benefits in addition to the ability to earn extra money throughout the season. The February tryouts will be a “balanced playing field” so expect set archetypes and a set overall. This way we truly will see who is the best of the best, The Green Release has some thoughts on set player archetypes for the league proper, however I’ll save them for another day.

Opinion - During Brendan’s AMA streaming came up often and a player’s popularity, in terms of YouTube, Twitch and Twitter followers, The Green Release has some suggestions for players worried about this, STREAM AS OFTEN AND REGULARLY AS YOU CAN! Put out great content, clean content that fits with the NBA’s brand and audience (read: No swearing) and be a great Pro-Am player. A following alone won’t get you drafted, however it certainly won’t harm your chances. Consider this, the NBA proper is the elite of the elite talent, the NBA 2K League seeks to emulate this, by gather the best players on the planet and leveraging off the NBA and NBA 2K’s popularity the drafted players can and will build their own brands, with so many resources at your disposal it can be done. Question, would you rather watch a YouTuber pump out park content and reactions or a highly skilled gamer offering insights into the lift of a professional gamer and the NBA life who puts out high level content. Teams can build a players profile and brand identity from scratch, get drafted and the eyeballs will follow!

A snippet from the Reddit AMA below. 


<< With leagues competing for mind share from gaming and non-gaming sponsors, do you feel NBA 2K will draw a solid set of brands to sponsor teams and events? I was surprised and excited to see long time supporters of esports like HyperX sponsoring the Dallas Mavs and supporting the league. How will you get more brands like this involved?>>

Brendan's answer

<< Our potential partners have been very receptive so far - they love that NBA 2K and the sport of basketball are globally recognizable, that the game is easy to activate sponsors into, and the fact that it is rated 'E'.>>

Opinion – The NBA 2K League hits two key entities for North American and global companies looking to spend sponsorship dollars, a major league sport in the NBA which is at an all time high in popularity and revenue dollars and esports which is an emerging industry of which investment is pouring in, companies are still tip-toeing the esports landscape however the opportunity to get in on the ground floor is huge and the 2K League’s native on-screen layout lends itself attractively to sponsors who can advertise on screen and in-game. The point is the NBA 2K League won’t have any issues attracting sponsors, more so finding the right dollar value and brand fit with each franchise.