The NBA 2K League is the start of something massive in esports – the merge between traditional, professional sporting leagues and our beloved competitive gaming scene. Set to have its inaugural season in 2018, the 2K League will see the very best gamers around the world represent 17 of the NBA’s top teams in the virtual space. This guide will cover the history and format of the NBA2KL, the season roadmap and schedule, the current team rosters, and which esports betting sites to safely wager on the very first 2K League events online.
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NBA 2K League esports overview
The NBA 2K League was officially announced in February 2017 as a joint venture between the National Basketball Association and Take Two Interactive, publishers of the annual video game franchise NBA 2K. As the first and only professional esports league advertised, managed and endorsed by the NBA, it aims to put the spotlight on the very best NBA 2K players in the entire world and give them the proper platform to show off their skills and love for the sport.
How to bet on the NBA 2K League
The NBA 2K League has yet to officially begin, so betting markets are not yet open for any of its events. However, our top-ranked online betting sites offer a large range of betting options on other esports favourites such as CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends and Overwatch. Our readers from United States are recommended to check out BetOnline for the best odds and betting options on your favourite major and minor international esports tournaments – sign up via our provided links for a welcome bonus.
Entirely new to esports betting? Please read our guide on how to bet on esports before you jump in to be properly prepared – and find the highest reviewed sportsbooks while you’re at it.
NBA 2K League Season 1 schedule
The NBA and 2K Games Interactive have released the roadmap schedule for Season 1 on their official website.
NBA 2K League Qualifier January: Tryouts for the first season of the NBA 2K League will begin in January 2018 under the NBA 2K League Qualifier event. Players around the world have a chance to rep their favourite NBA teams by playing NBA 2K18’s Pro-Am mode from January 1 – 30 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – and they must win 50 games or more to qualify.
NBA 2K League Qualifier February: The top 85 players who were successful in the League Qualifier event in January will be privately invited to the next stage of try outs in February, with further details to be announced.
Drafting: The final draft period will be held in March, where each NBA team will select five pro players to represent them on the esports world stage.
Season One: The NBA 2K inaugural season will officially start in May 2018 and will run through August.
All players who participate in the NBA 2K League must be 18 years old or older, and must complete an online application form on the official NBA 2K League website by January 30 to be eligible. You can also join as part of a team or as a solo walk-on, or a combination of both.
NBA 2K League Season 1 format
Games in the NBA 2K League Games will be 5v5 matches with players using customised MyPlayers provided by the 2K League, each with a rating of around 90. The quarter length is currently up in the air, but many voters on social media are hoping for 5 minute quarters similar to the Pro-Am mode in NBA 2K18.
For the inaugural season, all official NBA 2K League games will be played and streamed from “one or two central stations” which will be announced at a later date, according to the official NBA 2K League FAQ page.
The lead console platform out of PlayStation 4 or Xbox One has yet to be announced.
NBA 2K League esports – The Teams
17 of the NBA’s 30 teams are confirmed to be a part of the inaugural 2018 2K League season. Every selected 2K player who represents their team will be paid a guaranteed, competitive salary, in addition to benefits and housing – similar to competitive players in many other popular esports leagues.
The final team names and logos have been announced, along with the official 2K League logo, which you can view below.
|NBA 2K League Teams||NBA Team Owners|
|76ers GC||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Blazer5 Gaming||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Bucks GG||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Cavs Legion GC||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Celtics Crossover Gaming||Boston Celtics|
|Grizzlies Gaming||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Heat Check Gaming||Miami Heat|
|Jazz Gaming||Utah Jazz|
|Kings Guard Gaming||Sacramento Kings|
|Knicks Gaming||New York Knicks|
|Magic Gaming||Orlando Magic|
|Mavs Gaming||Dallas Mavericks|
|Pacers Gaming||Indiana Pacers|
|Pistons GT||Detroit Pistons|
|Raptors Uprising GC||Toronto Raptors|
|Warriors GS||Golden State Warriors|
|Wizards District Gaming||Washington Wizards|
How to watch NBA 2K League esports live
The 2K League is currently sorting out which online and television media platforms will be the official live-streaming esports partners for the inaugural season – it most likely will be widely available on the official NBA channels set up on Twitch or YouTube.