eSports Continues Momentum With Support From NBA Teams And Athletes

By Edge Ison , Feb 18, 2017 03:00 AM EST

One thing that is fast gaining popularity in the gaming world is eSports. In fact, it has gained a huge fan base that professional leagues such as the National Basketball Association have taken notice.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced earlier this month that the professional league is entering the eSports industry with its own eLeague. The NBA 2K eLeague is a basketball league that will be played in video game format particularly with the NBA 2K game. Every NBA team will eventually be represented with them being called eLakers, eCeltics and so on. The eLeague will start off with a draft consisting of a pool of players from all around the world. These players will be represented by their own avatars. In essence, the NBA 2K eLeague will be a league played by video game players.

According to reports, a number of startups such as Super League Gaming and Skillz are capitalizing on the popularity of eSports. Skillz, for its part, has already held over 100 million eSports tournaments. With the NBA taking part of the industry, expect eSports' popularity to continue to boom.

This is not the first time that the NBA or someone connected to the league has been involved or at least shown interest in eSports. The distinction of being the first NBA name to signify interest in eSports belongs to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. According to a piece written by ESPN, Cuban became interested in eSports around two years ago particularly with League of Legends.

NBA players and personalities who are now involved in eSports include the Boston Celtics' Jonas Jerebko, former player and now actor Rick Fox, and former Laker great and now NBA analyst Shaquille O'Neal. These three along with the Philadelphia 76ers are eSports team owners. Another team, the Team Liquid, is owned by an investment group which has NBA Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, and Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Gruber as members. The Houston Rockets has hired a director of eSports mainly to look at the possibility of investing in eSports. Jeremy Lin of the Brooklyn Nets and Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz have also expressed their support for eSports. Lin has just launched his own team while Hayward signed an eSports endorsement deal.

The NBA is taking full advantage of the advancements in technology to provide fans with various ways to enjoy the game. Aside from having its own eLeague, the NBA has ventured into virtual reality and has started showing games using the platform this season.

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