Last week the NBA announced that 17 established NBA teams will be participating in the upcoming NBA 2K eLeague, the first formal esports league run by an established sporting league.
The 2K eLeague was announced back in February when Brendan Donohue, formerly a marketing and business exec within the NBA was announced as the managing director for the firm’s esports program. The league will reportedly see a draft system similar to the current NBA organisation, with players drafted onto teams as full-time players. Each franchise will draft five players, who will train, draw a salary and generally act like their own sports team on the franchise’s roster.
“A lot like the brick-and-mortar NBA, there’s going to be a draft, so it’ll begin with a pool of gamers,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained back in February in an interview with with Sportscenter AM.
The NBA already has quite a past with esports, with the 76ers acuiring Dignitas and Apex, Miami Heat acquiring Misfits, NBA investors buying into Liquid and, famously, former NBA star Rick Fox created esports organisation Echo Fox.
In alphabetical order, the NBA franchises getting involved in the league are as follows. It’s not yet known whether any of the teams involved will have to give up their work with other esports organisations at this time.
Golden State Warriors
New York Knicks
Portland Trail Blazers