The Dallas Mavericks are one of 17 teams scheduled to participate in the inaugural NBA 2K esports league, set to debut in 2018.
In February 2017, the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. announced plans to launch a new, professional competitive gaming league that will bring together the best basketball gamers in the world.
Joining the Mavericks in the league will be Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Golden State, Indiana, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, New York Knicks, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto, Utah and Washington.
The competitive gaming league will consist of teams operated by actual NBA franchises. The founding teams will each be composed of five professional eSports players who will play the game as user-created avatars.
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The NBA 2K eLeague will follow a professional sports league format: competing head-to-head throughout a regular season, participating in a bracketed playoff system, and concluding with a championship match-up.
“It’s based on NBA 2K platform. It’s a little bit different,” said Ryan Peters of NBA 2K. “Competitive gaming is kind of a new thing for people.”
The relationship between NBA and Take-Two dates back to 1999, with the NBA 2K series selling over 68 million units worldwide. The most recent release, NBA 2K17, is the highest-rated annual sports game of the current console generation and the highest-rated title in the history of the NBA 2K series.