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The NBA 2K League

NBA 2K 20 by dronepicris licensed underCC BY 2.0

The NBA 2K League

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The NBA season is currently on hold and doesn’t have a set plan in place yet to come back. It’s a tough time in life for a basketball fan. Not for long though. The NBA 2K League, an affiliate of the NBA, is coming to rescue us all. After being delayed by Covid-19 itself, the league will be starting its 3rd season on Tuesday, May 5th.

The Season

The NBA 2K League consists of 23 teams. All but one are direct affiliates of an NBA Franchise. The one that isn’t is a new expansion team representing Shanghai, the Gen. G Tigers. Each team will participate in a 6-week regular season with additional in-season tournaments throughout. The tournaments are titled, THE TIPOFF, THE TURN and THE TICKET. All of this determines the seeding for the 10-team playoffs that end with the 2K League Finals in early August. THE TICKET is played right before the playoffs, and determines which team of the bottom 14 will be the 10th seed. All games are televised with commentators on Twitch and YouTube TV.


Teams will start this season playing remotely from their respective markets. The format is pretty straight forward. Teams play in 5 on 5 games with 6 minute quarters in Pro-Am mode on NBA 2K. Each player uses a unique character and picks a position. The skill sets for each are determined through the specific archetypes within the game and every player is set to a rating of 92. This ensures a more level playing field. It’s based on your own abilities to play not on virtual upgrades. The game doesn’t just stop at the players though.

Each team also has a General Manager, a Team Director, Coaches, and a fully staffed front office. Like the NBA, the 2K League features a 2 round draft that happens in February and even offers teams a trading period. To me, this is what makes the league fun to pay attention to. It operates exactly like the NBA. Players live in their home markets with the rest of their team and go through training periods, off-season workouts and practice. The league also offers several end of season awards including MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and even Coach of the Year.

The Draft

The draft is probably the coolest part of this league. What kid didn’t grow up wishing they could get paid to play video games? Well, now you can! Here’s how it works. Every year the league holds a combine where players from all over the world have to meet specific requirements to gain access and compete for a chance to be drafted into the league. This year the combine began November 18th and concluded on January 7th. Players are evaluated in many different ways including tournament style gameplay and even 30 minute interviews with league representatives. At the end of all of this, a selection committee reviews all players that participated to create a list of the top 150. The selected players are the draftees.

Once drafted, players are contacted by their team’s representatives, who are tasked with relocating them to that particular market. They spend half the year with their respective teams. In terms of salary, a top draft pick makes $35,000 plus any extra earnings from tournaments, the Finals, and awards. The lowest base salary sits at $32,000 for 6 months of work. If you love playing NBA 2K now might be the time to use this quarantine to prepare yourself for the 2021 combine. Who knows? Maybe you will be the next #1 overall pick.

A Florida Boy who now calls LA his home now! In my free time all I do is watch sports and look up stats. I love all things college football, especially my beloved Miami Hurricanes! I also partake in my fair share of Fantasy Football and Basketball.

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