Not even a global pandemic can put out the competitive fire of NBA players.
Weeks after the suspension of the 2018-19 season due to coronavirus, the league teamed up with 2K and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) for a players-only NBA 2K20 gameplay tournament between 16 current basketball stars.
Led by top seeds Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), the participants have the chance to continue NBA contention on Xbox One starting April 3 via ESPN and ESPN2. According to the official release, seeding is determined "first by NBA 2K rating, second by tenure."
Check out the matchups:
2K Senior Vice President, Sports Strategy and Licensing Jason Argent said, "We're thrilled to partner with the NBA and NBPA to bring basketball back to fans throughout the world and to help those in need during these uncertain times. Entertainment, especially sports, has the ability to bring communities together — including athletes, fans and families — and we hope that everyone will enjoy the tournament."
The charity beneficary of the NBA 2K20 champion's choice will be given a $100,000 donation by 2K, the NBA, and the NBPA as part of the COVID-19 humanitarian aid.
Aside from Durant (96 rating) and Young (90), the single-elimination competition also features All-Stars Donovan Mitchell (87), Devin Booker (86), Andre Drummond (85), Domantas Sabonis (85), and DeMarcus Cousins (81), among others. The 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time champion joined his fellow gamers and basketball-hungry fans on Twitter in expressing excitement over the players-only tournament:
And on the rest of the Twittersphere...
KD and reigning Slam Dunk champ Derrick Jones, Jr. kick things off with one of their pre-selected squads on Friday. The latter picks from his Heat, Celtics, Nets, Mavericks, Clippers, Lakers, Bucks and 76ers, while Durant has his Nets, Bulls, Mavericks, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Thunder and Jazz.