It’s 2018, and that means the NBA 2K League is kicking off right now! The basketball esports league for NBA 2K18 is open to anyone anywhere in the world (with a few caveats) so there’s no excuse for not having a shot at stardom if you think you’re good enough. The NBA 2K League qualification process has a few steps before you can get onto a team, but the first is pretty easy so here’s how you can become an NBA esports star.
NBA 2K League Qualification
Now that January has begun, you can qualify for the NBA 2K League by playing Pro-Am matches online – but only on PS4 or Xbox One. Pro-Am is the competitive matchmaking feature in the Neighborhood social hub, so just jump into games against other players with custom characters there. To qualify for the NBA 2K League you need to win 50 Pro-Am matches in January, either as a walk-on, part of a team or any combination of both. Near the end of the month, an online application form will open on the NBA 2K League site where you can complete final registration if you achieve your 50 qualifying wins. Registration is open to anyone over 18, so fill it out by January 31 and wait for your call-up to tryouts.
NBA 2K League tryouts, combine and draft
NBA 2K League tryouts will begin in February, with a draft in March. There are 85 spots available in the digital tryouts which again will be held from your own home console online. Players will be invited to join the combine from the main menu of the game and ranked on a worldwide leaderboard as they play in the combine.
Analytics will be done on all players, deeper than their basic stats, to ensure that only the best qualify for the draft pool. This does not include any details of their social following or marketability, your draft qualification will depend on your skill alone so get out there and win games.
Once those top 85 players are identified, their names will place placed in the draft pool and invited to the live draft event. The draft takes place in March 2018 (date yet to be announced) and broadcast live as the 17 NBA teams determine the order they will pick players in. Each team will choose five players to represent them in the NBA 2K League and sign on to six-month contracts with their franchise.
The 17 teams currently signed up to the NBA 2K League 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, and Washington Wizards.
So you got signed, what next?
Once a player is signed, they’ll need to move to the city their drafted franchise is in, where housing will be covered by the team. Each team will have their own ideas on how to structure accomodation for their esports players, and their practice facilities, but could be given access to NBA team facilities used by their athletic counterparts.
As part of their contract, covering the season from tip-off in May through to the end of August, players will be guaranteed a salary and offered opportunities to earn additional money throughout the season. Otherwise, all players receive the same base salary in the opening season. Each player will also receive media testing as well as a background check before competing.
On competition days, each player will wear their team’s league branded apparel and jerseys, and flown to a central studio to eliminate poor network conditions. Current standards for the NBA 2K League suggest they will be using six-minute quarters mirroring the Pro-Am experience players qualified through. It’s not yet clear if they will use PS4 or Xbox One consoles. Once drafted, each player will create their own avatar to use during matches, with all ratings closer to 90.