NBA 2K League

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NBA 2K League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2020 NBA 2k league season
NBA 2K League logo.svg
GameNBA 2K
FoundedFebruary 9, 2017; 3 years ago (2017-02-09)
New York City, New York, U.S.[1][2]
Inaugural season2018
Owner(s)NBA 2K League, LLC.
(NBA (50%)
Take-Two Interactive (50%)
CommissionerBrendan Donohue
No. of teams21
CountriesUnited States (20 teams)
Canada (1 team)
HeadquartersNew York City
Most recent
T-Wolves Gaming
(1st title)
Most titlesKnicks Gaming (1 title) T- Wolves Gaming (1 title)
TV partner(s)

YouTube (2019–present)

ESPN2 (2020–present) (select games)

ESPN App (2020–present)

The NBA 2K League (NBA2KL or simply 2K League) is an esports league joint venture between the National Basketball Association and Take-Two Interactive. The league was announced on February 9, 2017.[1] On May 4, 2017 it was revealed that 17 of the 30 NBA teams would have their own NBA 2K League team during the inaugural season in 2018.[2] On April 18, 2018, the NBA 2K League and Twitch announced a multiyear partnership to live stream all games.[3] The inaugural season began on May 1, 2018 and on August 25, 2018, Knicks Gaming won the inaugural 2K League championship. For season 2 the rights to live stream the league's games went to YouTube and twitch the second season began on April 16, 2019 and ended on August 3, with T-Wolves Gaming winning the championship. The third season was going to be starting on March 31, 2020 but the season was postponed to May 5, 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. On May 5, 2020, NBA 2K and ESPN agreed to broadcast the games on ESPN2 and the ESPN App. The third season actually began on May 5, 2020 with 6 weeks of remote play. On June 9, 2020 remote play got extended from 6 weeks to 11 weeks


In order to qualify for the league draft, a player needs to be over the age of 18 and own NBA 2K on either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Players had to win a number of games in Pro-Am mode and submit a following application.[4] Following that, the players who qualified participated in a combine that ran from February 2–21, 2018.[5] Only a select number of applicants received invites to the draft.[6]


The inaugural season lasted for 17 weeks, beginning with the tip-off tournament from May 1–5, with the first weekly match ups taking place on May 11–12. There was an additional two tournaments during the season before the playoffs began on August 17, concluding with the NBA 2K League Finals on August 25. All games were live streamed on Twitch and available to view on demand after the live broadcasts.[3]

The league used Pro-Am mode for the games, which consisted of 5 on 5 matches where players used archetypes with preset skills instead of their own MyPlayer or NBA players to keep the ratings similar to everyone.[4][7]

The archetypes to choose from were:[7]

  • Point guard: Shot-Creating Slasher, Shot-Creating Sharpshooter, Slashing Playmaker, Sharpshooting Playmaker or Playmaking Shot Creator
  • Shooting guard: Playmaking Slasher, Sharpshooting Defender, Slashing Shot Creator, Sharpshooting Shot Creator or Pure Sharpshooter
  • Small forward: Shot-Creating Slasher, Sharpshooting Shot Creator, Pure Sharpshooter, Slashing Defender or Sharpshooting Slasher
  • Power forward: Slashing Rim Protector, Rebounding Athletic Finisher, Slashing Post Scorer, Two-Way Rebounder or Sharpshooting Rim Protector
  • Center: Post-Scoring Athletic Finisher, Slashing Rebounder, Pure Rim Protector, Slashing Stretch Five or Rebounding Post Scorer

A special build of NBA 2K18-20 on PC was used for the league, with equipment provided by Alienware and Intel.[8] HyperX is the league's headset sponsor, while Scuf Gaming provides controllers for all matches.[9] To go along with the league sponsors, each team also has various sponsors and displays the logos of the sponsors on their in-game uniforms. All games are played at the NBA 2K League Studio in New York.[7]

Weekly match ups and tournaments[edit]

The first 2 regular seasons takes place over 15 weeks with 12 weeks for weekly match ups and the other three being for tournaments. All teams will play in a minimum of 19 games, including 14 regular season games and the tournament games. The tournament games will not count towards regular season records, but will be used as a tiebreaker for the postseason. Weekly match ups will take place on Fridays and Saturdays.

The tip-off tournament contained a $100,000 prize and featured pool play with teams competing in four groups over the course of five days. The top two teams from each group advanced to the single elimination playoff rounds. For The Turn and The Ticket, seeding was determined by the records of each team over the four weeks since the previous tournament. The tournaments were single elimination and contained a play-in game between the 16th and 17th seeds. The Turn and The Ticket contained prize pools of $150,000, with the winner of The Ticket receiving an automatic playoff berth.

For the third season the league will begin with 6 weeks of remote play with matchups on Tuesday -Friday from 7–11 pm e.t. With 2 games at 7 pm e.t. And 2 games at 9 pm e.t. which to get a regular season you have to win a best of 3 series

On June 9, 2020 during the nba2kleague broadcast the league Announced that remote play will continue through July 17 (week 11 of regular season) and also announced that the tip off tournament will be held remotely on June 16–19

The Tréfecta[edit]

The winner of each tournament will receive a steel championship banner. If a team wins all three, they will achieve the Tréfecta, with all three banners forming "The Banner Chain".[10]


For the playoffs, seeding is determined by regular season standings. The seven teams with the best record will make the postseason along with the winner of The Ticket. If The Ticket winner has one of the top eight records, then the top eight teams will make the playoffs.

The quarterfinals are single elimination, while the semifinals and finals are best of three. The playoff prize pool will be $600,000, with $300,000 going to the league champions.

Salaries and benefits[edit]

All players signed six month contracts and will have their relocation and housing costs covered by the league, as well as benefits such as medical insurance and a retirement plan. Food, transportation, and housing will also be covered during the season when teams travel for games.[11]

Players drafted in the first round will make $35,000, while the rest of the players will make $32,000. There will be four other opportunities throughout the season to win money as $1 million will be split between three tournaments and the league championship. Players are also allowed to sign endorsement deals to earn extra income.[7][11]


On December 11, 2017, the official logo for the NBA 2K League was revealed,[12] with the logos for each of the 17 teams being revealed over the course of the following days.[13][14][15] On August 15, 2018, it was announced that the league would expand to 21 teams in 2019 with the addition of teams from Atlanta, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Minnesota.[16]

Team NBA Team Owner Inaugural Season
Gen G Tigers of Shanghai Gen G 2020
76ers GC Philadelphia 76ers 2018
Blazer5 Gaming Portland Trail Blazers 2018
Bucks Gaming Milwaukee Bucks 2018
Cavs Legion GC Cleveland Cavaliers 2018
Celtics Crossover Gaming Boston Celtics 2018
Grizz Gaming Memphis Grizzlies 2018
Hawks Talon GC Atlanta Hawks 2019
Hornets Venom GT Charlotte Hornets 2020
Heat Check Gaming Miami Heat 2018
Jazz Gaming Utah Jazz 2018
Kings Guard Gaming Sacramento Kings 2018
Knicks Gaming New York Knicks 2018
Lakers Gaming Los Angeles Lakers 2019
Magic Gaming Orlando Magic 2018
Mavs Gaming Dallas Mavericks 2018
Nets GC Brooklyn Nets 2019
Pacers Gaming Indiana Pacers 2018
Pistons GT Detroit Pistons 2018
Raptors Uprising GC Toronto Raptors 2018
T-Wolves Gaming Minnesota Timberwolves 2019
Warriors Gaming Squad Golden State Warriors 2018
Wizards District Gaming Washington Wizards 2018


Protected players[edit]

Each team protected two players from their 2018 roster prior to the expansion draft, making them ineligible to be selected by the four expansion teams.[17]

76ers GC
Player Position
Radiant (Ethan White) PG
Steez (Alexander Bernstein) SF
Blazer5 Gaming
Player Position
Mama Im Dat Man (Nidal Nasser) PG
OneWildWalnut (Dayne Downey) C
Bucks Gaming
Player Position
BigMeek (Jovan Tenner) SF
Game6Drake (Aaron Rookwood) PG
Cavs Legion GC
Player Position
Hood (Brandon Caicedo) PG
Sick x 973 (Gerald Knapp) C
Celtics Crossover Gaming
Player Position
MEL EAST (Ahmed Kasana) SF
oFAB (Albano Thomallari) PG
Grizz Gaming
Player Position
AuthenticAfrican (Mehyar Ahmed-Hassan) C
UniversalPhenom (Antonio Saldivar) SF
Heat Check Gaming
Player Position
Hotshot (Juan Gonzalez) C
Majes7ic (Stanley Lebron) PG
Jazz Gaming
Player Position
Deedz (DeMar Butler) PF
Yeah I Compete (Shaka Browne) PG
Kings Guard Gaming
Player Position
timelycook (Eric Donald) PG
worthingcolt (Jhade Black) C
Knicks Gaming
Player Position
G O O F Y 757 (Dayvon Curry) PF
iamadamthe1st (Adam Kudeimati) PG
Magic Gaming
Player Position
UCMANNY (Emmanuel Cruz) PF
KingCamRoyalty (Cameron Ford) PF
Mavs Gaming
Player Position
Dayfri (Ryan Conger) PF
Dimez (Artreyo Boyd) PG
Pacers Gaming
Player Position
Swizurk (Nicolas Grech) SG
WoLF 74 (Bryant Colon) SF
Pistons GT
Player Position
iiNsaniTTy (Kris Dellarciprete) SF
Lets Get It Ramo (Ramo Radoncic) PF
Raptors Uprising GC
Player Position
All Hail Trey (Trevion Hendrix) SF
Kenny (Kenneth Hailey) PG
Warriors Gaming Squad
Player Position
Bsmoove (Alex Reese) SG
type (Xavier Vescovi) C
Wizards District Gaming
Player Position
Boo Painter (Austin Painter) PF
Demon JT (Johnathon Fields) PG

Expansion draft[edit]

On September 26, 2018, the expansion draft for the four new teams was held.

PG Point guard SG Shooting guard SF Small forward PF Power forward C Center
Round Pick Team Player Position Previous Team
1 1 Hawks Talon GC Dat Boy Shotz (Connor Rodrigues) PF Blazer5 Gaming
1 2 Nets GC NateKahl (Nate Kahl) SF Knicks Gaming
1 3 T-Wolves Gaming oLARRY (Timothy Anselimo) C Bucks Gaming
1 4 Lakers Gaming Mootyy (Mitchell Franklin) PF Kings Guard Gaming
2 5 Lakers Gaming KontruL (Christopher Cantrell) PG Magic Gaming
2 6 T-Wolves Gaming I F E A S T (Mihad Feratovic) PF 76ers GC
2 7 Nets GC oShockey (Moshood Balogun Jr.) PF Pacers Gaming
2 8 Hawks Talon GC ARS0NAL x (Devon Peek) C Celtics Crossover Gaming

Free agency and transactions[edit]

During the first season, there were no trades allowed. For the 2019 season, two trade periods were added: September 27 – October 10, as well as a TBA period during the season. All trades must have a 1:1 ratio, meaning two picks can't be traded for one player and vice versa. Before the expansion draft each team protected two of their players from the 2018 team, while the rest of the players were eligible to be selected in the expansion draft. Following the expansion draft, teams were allowed to retain up to two more of their 2018 players who were not selected. To retain more players teams had to sacrifice picks in the 2019 draft. If a team had a player selected in the expansion draft, to retain one player they had to give up a third round pick and to retain a second player, they had to give up a second round pick. For teams who had no players selected in the expansion draft, to retain one player they gave up a second round pick and to retain two players, they gave up a first round pick.[18]



September 27, 2018[19]

To Pacers Gaming To Pistons GT
Lets Get It Ramo 2019 1st Round Pick (4th Overall)

September 27, 2018[20]

To Cavs Legion GC To T-Wolves Gaming

September 27, 2018[21]

To Mavs Gaming To Wizards District Gaming
2019 1st Round Pick (14th Overall) Dayfri

October 3, 2018[22]

To Lakers Gaming To Warriorrs Gaming Squad
Vert 2019 1st Round Pick (10th Overall)

October 4, 2018[23]

To Blazer5 Gaming To Bucks Gaming
KinG PeroXide 2019 1st Round Pick (17th Overall)


  1. ^ a b "NBA and Take-Two to launch 'NBA 2K eLeague'". National Basketball Association. February 9, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "17 NBA teams to take part in inaugural NBA 2K esports league in 2018". National Basketball Association. May 4, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "NBA 2K League to Tip Off Inaugural Season on Twitch". NBA 2K League. April 18, 2018. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Mazique, Brian (December 5, 2017). "NBA 2K League: How To Qualify, Salary Info, Draft Process, Twitter Account, Rules And More". Forbes. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  5. ^ "Introducing the NBA 2K League Combine". NBA 2K League. January 25, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Youngmisuk, Ohm (April 3, 2018). "Commissioner Adam Silver to announce 1st pick at NBA 2K League draft". ESPN. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d Kennedy, Alex (April 4, 2018). "FAQ: Everything you need to know about the new NBA 2K League". HoopsHype. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Sarkar, Samit (April 3, 2018). "NBA 2K League games to be played on PC, not PS4 or Xbox One". Polygon. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  9. ^ Mitrevski, Lydia (May 1, 2018). "Scuf Gaming becomes official controller of NBA 2K League". Esports Insider. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  10. ^ "The Banner Chain: Striving for the Tréfecta". NBA 2K League. April 27, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "$1 Million Prize Pool for Inaugural NBA 2K League Season". NBA 2K League. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  12. ^ "NBA 2K League Unveils Logo". NBA 2K League. December 11, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  13. ^ "Team Logos Revealed: Part I". NBA 2K League. December 12, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "Team Logos Revealed: Part II". NBA 2K League. December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  15. ^ "Team Logos Revealed: Part III". NBA 2K League. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  16. ^ "NBA 2K League Announces Four Expansion Teams for 2019 Season". NBA 2K League. August 15, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  17. ^ "2019 Season Protected Players Tracker". NBA 2K League. September 5, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  18. ^ "NBA 2K League Expansion Details". NBA 2K League. August 29, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  19. ^ "Pacers Gaming Makes Historic Trade with Pistons GT". Pacers Gaming. September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  20. ^ "Cavs Legion Sends Brandon Caicedo "Hood" to T-Wolves Gaming". Cavs Legion GC. September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  21. ^ "Wizards District Gaming Acquires Dayfri from Mavs Gaming in Exchange for 2019 1st Round Pick". NBA 2K League. September 27, 2018. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  22. ^ "Lakers Gaming Acquires Vert from Warriors Gaming Squad in Exchange for 2019 First Round Pick". NBA 2K League. October 3, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  23. ^ "Blazer5 Gaming Trades First-Round Pick in 2019 NBA 2K League Draft to Bucks Gaming for Power Forward". Blazer5 Gaming. October 4, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2018.

External links[edit]