The NBA is the latest professional sports league to turn to esports in the absence of real events, as the league, the players association and 2K Sports announced Tuesday the formation of a players-only NBA 2K20 tournament to benefit charity.
The NBA 2K Players Tournament will feature 16 current NBA players in a bracket-style tournament that will run from Friday to April 11 and be televised on ESPN and ESPN2.
The first two rounds will be single elimination while the semis and finals will be best-of-three games.
The winner will receive $100,000, which will be donated to a charity of his choice to support ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts.
“This tournament offers a unique opportunity for our players to compete with one another while also supporting their philanthropic efforts and engaging with their fans,” Josh Goodstadt, a representative of the players union’s commercial arm, said in a statement. “We are excited to work with 2K and the NBA to bring this experience to life for the entire NBA community.”
The players are seeded No. 1 to No. 16, with seeding based on their player ratings in NBA 2K20. Each player will select eight current NBA teams from which they will choose their team each round. Each player can use a team only once, and if two opponents select the same team, the away team gets first choice of team.
Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets is the No. 1 seed, and he selected the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz as his eight teams. He will face 16th-seeded Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday. Jones has selected the Boston Celtics, the Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers as his teams.
NBA 2K Players Tournament seedings (with NBA 2K20 rank in parentheses):
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 schedule:
7:30-8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Derrick Jones Jr. (16) vs. Kevin Durant (1)
8:30-11:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2): Games TBA
Sunday, April 5
Noon-4 p.m. ET (ESPN2): Games TBA
7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Semifinals and finals
Times TBA (ESPN)
—Field Level Media