NBA’s Forthcoming 2K Esports League Will Feature 17 Franchises In Its First Season

Published: May 8, 2017

Last week, the NBA announced new information about its new esports league. The NBA 2K Esports League will have its debut next year and already has 17 different professional basketball franchises registered for competition.

Tremendous enthusiasm for esports

In February, the NBA, in cooperation with the video game developer and publisher Take-Two Interactive, announced plans to bring a new professional gaming league to the esports arena.

“This is the first step in what promises to be an extraordinary league, bringing together the world’s best gamers and showcasing elite competition on an international stage,” said NBA 2K Esports league Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “Our teams have expressed tremendous enthusiasm for esports, and we are looking forward to forming something truly unique for basketball and gaming fans around the globe.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has called the league part of his “mission” to grow the gaming world of basketball. Meanwhile, many NBA franchises have already shown interest in participating.

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“We’re very proud to be one of the 17 teams to partner with our league and participate in this new, fascinating venture,” said Indiana Pacers Sports & Entertainment President and COO Rick Fuson. “We’re excited that once again the NBA has stepped forward and taken the lead as it relates to the world of esports. We are thrilled to be part of this league that is going to take Indiana’s game – one that most of us grew up with shooting hoops in the driveway, on the side of a barn or at the playgrounds – to a whole new level. We’ll be able to build a new fan base that without esports, might never have become real fans of basketball.”

Seventeen NBA teams part of the NBA 2K hype

At first, the NBA planned to include between eight and a dozen teams, or a minimum of 40 players, in the 2K Esports League. The fact that 17 teams have already committed shows great potential for the league.

The 17 participating teams include:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

The first announcement for the league set forth a similar competition structure to the real NBA. The franchises will draft five players who will compete in an 82-game season. Before drafting, players are expected to be evaluated and rated.

“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,” said Commissioner Silver. “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.'”

The league sounds exciting, and the fact that it will further expand the presence of esports is a great initial success.

Image credit: Leonard Zhukovsky /

Dejan Zalik

Since: September 12, 2015

Dejan has been involved in gaming for over 10 years. Moving from classics like Diablo 2, Lineage 2, and Warcraft 3, he found his passion in Dota 2, which he’s been playing ever since. He also likes to keep up to date by reading and writing about whatever is happening in the industry.

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