While the rest of the world struggles to make ends meet and the coronavirus’ effect on American businesses has sent a record number of people to the unemployment line, the NBA continues to make money moves and analyze the potential results of a lost season.
They haven’t forgotten about the fans though.
In keeping with this new virtual, social distancing world we live in and following the suggestion of The World Health Organization concerning how people with a lust for sports should spend their quarantine time — The NBA, National Basketball Players Association and 2K have partnered to produce an NBA 2K tournament that will air on ESPN and ESPN2 starting Friday, it was announced.
That’s solid, because everyone other than the most diehard basketball junkie was getting kinda tired of 1990’s Bulls games and 1970s throwbacks with cats running around in huggies.
The NBA 2K20 Player Tournament will run through April 11, according to a statement, and will begin airing on ESPN on Friday with a half-hour pre show at 7 p.m. ET. The tournament will run on ESPN until 8:30 p.m. and then is scheduled to transition to ESPN2 until 11:30 p.m.
We found out today that all 14 Lakers players have tested negative for COVID-19 and have self-quarantined for two weeks. It’s also good to see that Kevin Durant, one of the more popular victims of the coronavirus pandemic, is on the road to recovery.
NBA 2K20 Player Face Off
The winner of the event will donate the $100,000 purse to charity in support of the coronavirus relief efforts.
“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,” said Jason Argent, 2K senior vice president, sports strategy and licensing. “Entertainment, especially sports, has the ability to bring communities together — including athletes, fans and families — and we hope that everyone will enjoy the tournament.”
According to ESPN, players were seeded based on their player rating in NBA 2K20, with Durant (96 overall), as the No.1 seed. Players who were tied in overall rating were seeded based on seniority.
Here’s a list of scheduled participants, with player ranking in parentheses:
- Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (96)
- Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (90)
- Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (87)
- Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (87)
- Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (86)
- Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers (85)
- Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (85)
- Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (85)
- Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers (85)
- Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (85)
- DeMarcus Cousins (81)
- Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (81)
- Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (79)
- Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers (78)
- Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings (78)
- Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat (78)
The schedule for the NBA 2K20 Player Tournament:
- Friday, April 3, ESPN, 7-8:30 p.m. ET
- Friday, April 3, ESPN2, 8:30-11:30 p.m. ET
- Sunday, April 5, ESPN2, 12-4 p.m. ET
- Quarterfinals: Tuesday, April 7, ESPN2, 7-11 p.m. ET
- Semifinals/Finals: Saturday, April 11, ESPN, Time TBD
All games will be available as VODs on ESPN3 following live competition.
This is as close as fans are probably going to get to seeing NBA players in action for a couple of months.
All of the anti-gaming purists who say that the video games are not as enjoyable or authentic as the real thing, will probably be in front of the TV watching these NBA stars go at it, flipping sticks instead of ripping rims.