Cavs, Warriors, Heat Lead 17 NBA Teams Into Upcoming eLeague Competition
Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 01:43PM in 2K, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden Stat Warriors, NBA, eLeague, eSports, eSports, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

May 4, 2017: The NBA has unveiled the 17 teams that plan to be part of the NBA 2K eSports league, details for which were unveiled in February with a scheduled 2018 launch.

The squads include teams that have appeared in the last 13 NBA Finals, with three that have won four of the last five NBA championships: the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat.

in alphabetical order, the 17 teams are the 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 and Washington Wizards.

"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," Brendan Donohue, recently named NBA 2K eSports league managing director, said a statement.

"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."

The NBA 2K plan is for each NBA franchise to select five gamers to represent its team in the NBA 2K eLeague.

Gamers will be chosen through a recruiting process by NBA teams and Take-Two. They will go through a virtual version of a combine and be selected in a draft, which the NBA and 2K said would either be televised or streamed online.

The team of gamers will play in an 82-game regular season, advance to a playoff, with the top teams competing for a championship, “which most likely will take place at an NBA arena,” according to the NBA.

The NBA said that in the coming months, the league and its teams would make a “variety of announcements related to participating players, team branding, league structure and business updates.”

According to Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two, the parent company for 2K games,”We want to make this as real as possible.”

That includes teams playing in an 82-game regular season and advancing to a playoff, with the top teams competing for a championship, "which most likely will take place at an NBA arena," according to the NBA.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said his avatar would present the championship trophy to the winner.

"The league will have all of the structure and polish of the NBA, coupled with the thrills and engagement of our industry-leading NBA 2K franchise to provide an exciting new entry into the world of competitive gaming," said Zelnick.

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