With prominent former players like Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal already leading the charge as it relates to investments in eSports, the NBA as a whole has signaled their support for the gaming community by announcing a first-of-its-kind eSports league centered around the NBA 2K series.
The NBA 2K eLeague, tentatively set to begin play in 2018, will eventually feature 30 NBA 2K teams, each owned by one of the real-life NBA franchises, according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two, who control the rights to NBA 2K.
The teams will be made up of five human players who will play out a five-month season that mirrors the real NBA season.
The most glaring difference between the league and casual play will be the fact that real NBA players will not be represented as avatars in the NBA 2K games. Instead, competitors will design on-screen avatars based on their own preferences.
Silver explained his rationale for the entire endeavor with the Associated Press, saying, "There's going to be an opportunity for this first of a kind league to attract a group of gamers who might be playing some other game. Now, they can say `Maybe I couldn't play for the Knicks, because I didn't have the physical prowess to compete at that level. But I do have the mental and physical prowess to compete as an egamer for the eKnicks.'"