April 30, 2020
By Adam Venezia
For many sports fans and athletes, sheltering in place has been especially hard because of the suspension of almost all organized sports. Luckily, some NBA players have found a way to make stay-at-home orders a little more enjoyable for fans.
On April 3, 16 players from the NBA got together to play in a weeklong NBA 2k 20 Tournament that was live-streamed on YouTube. The tournament was hosted by Ronnie “2k” Singh, who created the 2k basketball simulation video game.
At the end of the tournament, the winning player received $100,000 to donate to a coronavirus-related relief effort of his choice.
The athletes in the tournament consisted of many big names in the league like the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant and Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young. It generated a lot of attention because fans were excited to see these sports superstars play the game. Watching them encounter the same struggles as any other 2k player made it very relatable.
The rules of the tournament were simple: each of the 16 players selected eight different NBA teams. Throughout the tournament, those players would be able to play on each of those teams once. This ensured the winner was a good all-around player who was able to perform well with various combinations of players.
Just like regular NBA games, there was a timer, and players on the winning team got to advance to the next round. At the end of the tournament, the winning player received $100,000 to donate to a coronavirus-related relief effort of his choice.
Ultimately, Booker won this prize.
Booker is no stranger to video games. He has streamed himself playing before and sometimes even played with professional gamers. He was the obvious favorite to win the tournament because of all of his experience. Throughout the tournament, he showed why he was a contender, winning every game and earning a spot to play against Phoenix Suns player Deandre Ayton in the finals on April 11. Booker was named the winner after sweeping two of the three finals.
The tournament was a fun way for players and fans to watch basketball again. It also encouraged players from other sports to participate in similar simulated tournaments. MLB players, for instance, have been streaming themselves playing a baseball simulation game known as MLB The Show 20. This brought baseball fans a little happiness in the absence of opening day.
These simulation games are helping both players and fans strengthen their bonds, and it will surely improve the popularity of those sports. It is a great source of entertainment during the pandemic, and simply by playing the video game, every fan is able to get a sense of what it would be like to play on and against a team of professional athletes.