NBA 2K League is taking electronic gaming to new heights


17 teams started the journey in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League. Graphic courtesy of the NBA.

Esports have been growing in popularity in recent years with championships of fighting games such as League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients. While these competitions have gained a lot of popularity and packed stadiums, many critics feel that they are not sports, yet alone an electronic sport.

Former ESPN President John Skipper discussed his thoughts on broadcasting esports on ESPN networks in 2014.

“It’s not a sport, it’s a competition,” Skipper said. “Mostly, I’m interested in [broadcasting] real sports.”

The whole philosophy behind esports is being changed with the creation of the first electronic sports league, the NBA2K League. The 2K League is a video game basketball league that was launched this past February for the best NBA 2K players, a basketball video game, to competitively compete for teams against the best in the world.

Monumental Sports Social Media Coordinator Jake Brodsky believes many people will become involved in this league.

“70,000 tried out in the combine and only 102 got drafted,” Brodsky said. “People are definitely interested.”

Brodsky’s work with Monumental gives him great access to the gamers of the local team, Wizards Gaming District.

“Watching the players practice, the communication makes it different from 1 on 1 basketball [on NBA 2K18],” Brodsky said.

There has also been the creation of competitive FIFA competitions. These competitions for video game soccer differ from what the NBA2K League is doing because the 2K League is based on individual players as teammates instead of one player controlling a team.

While competitive video games are very popular and get as much attention as real sports, the demographic for sports games is much different than the demographic for battle games. This could lead to bad ratings among the 2K League compared to real sports and video games that involve fighting.

Sophomore David Tuszynski who has played NBA 2K had no idea about the league, but once he learned he thought it could be a successful league.

“I hope it can blossom into something that everybody likes,” Tuszynski said of the 2K league.

The league tipped off early last month with the first games being played on May 1. Games for the 17 teams are streamed on the streaming website Twitch. From what went on in the first month of action, this league seems to have what it takes to make their concept successful.