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Pro NBA Athletes Transition From Court To Online In NBA 2K Players Tournament

Games publisher 2K, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have announced the NBA 2K Players Tournament, an esports tournament where 16 current NBA professional athletes will go head-to-head with each other in NBA 2K20 on the Xbox One.

These include top NBA seeds Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, all of whom will compete in a single-elimination, player-only online esports tournament.


The champion will then be crowned the ultimate NBA 2K20 champion and receive the honour of selecting which charity beneficiary will receive a US$100,000 donation from 2K, the NBA and the NBPA in support of ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts.

Based on the players’ seeding (which is determined first by NBA 2K rating and secondly by tenure), players will go head-to-head online in NBA 2K20.

Prior to the beginning of the tournament, every player will choose eight of today’s NBA teams, each of which can only be used once. If a mirror match is set, the away team is awarded the first choice of team. Rounds one and two will be single elimination, while the semifinals and finals running will be best of three.

Player Seeding*:

  1. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets (96)
  2. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (90)
  3. Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (87)
  4. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (87)
  5. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (86)
  6. Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers (85)
  7. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (85)
  8. Montrezl Harrell, LA Clippers (85)
  9. Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers (85)
  10. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (85)
  11. DeMarcus Cousins (81)
  12. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets (81)
  13. Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards (79)
  14. Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers (78)
  15. Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings (78)
  16. Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat (78)
NBA 2K Players Tournament 4

Kevin Durant is the top-seeded player in the tourney.

Tournament coverage will officially begin on 4 April 2020 at 7am GMT+8 Malaysian time on ESPN, with a matchup between Jones Jr. (16) and Durant (1) tipping off at 7.30am GMT+8 Malaysian time.

Jones Jr. and Durant will each play as one of their pre-selected teams, with Jones Jr. choosing from the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.

On the other hand, Durant will be choosing from the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, LA Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.

Additional matchups will air until 12 April 2020, which is when the semifinals and finals will take place.

Every tournament game will debut on either ESPN or ESPN2, while also streaming on the ESPN App and running on NBA.com, the NBA App, and 2K and NBA social channels including Twitter (@NBA2K, @NBA), Twitch (@NBA2K,@NBA), YouTube (@NBA2K, @NBA) and Facebook (@NBA2K, @NBA).

NBA 2K Players Tournament 3

Check out the tune-in schedule below:

Round 1

  • Saturday, 4 April 2020: ESPN
    • 7am – 7.30am GMT+8 Malaysian time: NBA 2K Players Tournament Preview Show
    • 7.30am – 8.30am GMT+8 Malaysian time: Derrick Jones Jr. (16) vs. Kevin Durant (1)
  • Saturday, 4 April 2020: ESPN2, 8.30am – 11.30am GMT+8 Malaysian time
  • Monday, 6 April 2020: ESPN2, 12am – 4am GMT+8 Malaysian time


  • Wednesday, 8 April 2020: ESPN2, 7am – 11am. GMT+8 Malaysian time

Semifinals & Finals

  • Sunday, 12 April 2020: ESPN, Timing to be announced.

This is a good effort by the folks at 2K and NBA, especially with the halting of live sporting events due to measures taken to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that professional basketball is doing this, perhaps other major sports should follow suit.

I know there are lots of football fans out there. With the English Premier League (EPL) and other national leagues shut down, they should work something out with EA (for FIFA 2020) or Konami (for eFootball PES 2020) for an esports event involving pro athletes, just like the NBA 2K Players Tournament.



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