NBA 2K eLeague announces 17 cities to participate

The NBA has announced the seventeen established NBA teams that will participate in the upcoming NBA 2K eLeague via Twitter. This will be the first formal esports league run by an established league of professional sports.

The 2K eLeague was initially announced in February, when Brendan Donohue, formerly a marketing and business executive within NBA, was announced as the managing director for the esports initiative. It will reportedly work similarly to the current NBA circuit, with 2K players being drafted onto teams as full-time players.

“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 in a past interview with Sportscenter AM.

NBA vets and teams have been already picking up esports teams and organisations for over a year. For instance, the 76ers acquired esports organisations Dignitas and Apex, the Miami Heat acquired Misfits. NBA owners and investors bought into Liquid, one of the oldest and most famous orgs. Most famously, former player Rick Fox formed Echo Fox, which now has squads across several games including CS:GO and League of Legends.

This will be the first venture by the basketball league itself into esports, tying together several official city organizations for a single video game. It’s not known at the time how this will affect orgs’ current esports work.

In alphabetical order by city, the teams are:

  • 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

Esports Insider Says: The NBA is being smart about its approach. While they could simply allow teams to continue to invest, they pave the way for future interest and investments by laying the groundwork through the 2K eLeague, while also promoting a copyrighted work. If this turns out well, this could change the way esports is approached on a wider scale.