With online gaming going from strength to strength and the recent introduction of the NBA 2K League – the NBA’s official 2K league, with 17 of the 30 NBA teams taking part – Australian and New Zealand basketball-loving gamers are making waves of their own.
The 2K Downunder League is allowing the very best local NBA 2K players the chance to compete against one another and the founder of the league, Simon Omant has big dreams for the players involved.
“The ultimate goal is to see local players get drafted into America’s NBA 2K League,” Omant said.
“I believe we’ve got some fantastic players here who would really shine overseas.”
The official NBA 2K League is a tough league to break into. Tens of thousands of players tried out for just 102 roster spots in the league's inaugural season which kicked off in May earlier this year and concluded in late August.
It's big business too.
Over the course of three in-season tournaments and the NBA 2K League championship - which was claimed by Knicks Gaming - there was US$1 million in prize money up for grabs.
On top of the prize money involved, every player was signed to a six-month contract, with the 17 first round draft picks being paid US$35,000 and all others selected taking home a salary of US$32,000.
The local 2K Downunder League is filled with players from across Australia and New Zealand who, in teams of five or more players, face off online with games often being streamed live on Twitch.
The local 2K community is growing and there is a real bond between teammates and opponents, but when as soon as a game tips off, the competitiveness of each player shines through.
"It’s very competitive," Omant said.
"At the end of the day everyone is on really good terms with each other and there’s a great community being built. It’s definitely friendly before the game, but during the game it’s a different story.”
2K Downunder League Season 1 has just wrapped up and there’s no doubt that it was a tremendous success as ‘Forgettable’ were crowned Champions and took home the $2000 grand prize.
Season 1 stats a glance:
11,200 minutes recorded
9197 points scored
2330 assists dished out
1786 rebounds snagged
56 games played in total
11 teams registered
Six teams qualified for the playoffs
One team won the $2,000 prize
League leader in points: Forgettable's Baqqy__ with 28.54ppg.
League leader in assists: In Them Lanes' Raangee with 13.79apg.
League leader in rebounds: Vice City's AllDefence with 6.56rpg.
The grand final series was played last week between eventual champions Forgettable and Vice City. Forgettable only dropped one game all season and were too strong for Vice City, led by Baqqy__ who dominated with averages of 25.8ppg and 9.62apg.
The grand final series was streamed on Twitch (see below) across two channels.
Channel 1 was broadcast with commentary from elite and experienced Australian and New Zealand 2K players such as Pencil, Squid and Raange. Channel 2 had owners of overseas ProAm leagues watching on, while Ricco Phinisee - head coach of the Boston Celtics NBA 2K League team - tuned in to offer his thoughts and opinions.
Building on the success of Season 1, 2K Downunder Season 2 is shaping up as must-enter-event for local NBA 2K players.
Spots are filling up quickly.
2K Downunder League NBA 2K19 Schedule:
7 October 2018 - 4pm AEST/6pm NZST. Knockout Tournament with a $250 prize pool minimum guaranteed. $25 entry per team. Winning team automatically qualifies for 2kDL Season 2.
21 October 2018 - 12pm AEST/2pm NZST. Knockout Tournament with a $500 prize pool minimum guaranteed. $35 entry per team. Winning team automatically qualifies for 2kDL Season 2.
4 November 2018. 2K Downunder League Season 2 tip off! 6 week Season/playoff schedule with a $2000 prize pool minimum guaranteed. $50 entry per team.
For those wanting to get involved in the upcoming tournaments, places are still available in all competitions. Experience doesn't matter, with beginners more than welcome to join in on the fun.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check them out on Twitter.