NBA 2K League to hold first open online tryouts from Jan. 1-31

NBA 2K League managing director Brendan Donohue explains to Steve Loung why Esports is the next logical step for NBA.

Think you’re good enough to go pro in NBA 2K? Now is your time to prove it.

Details have emerged about how the forthcoming NBA 2K League – the NBA’s official professional esports collaboration with 2K Games – will whittle down its list of players who will eventually be drafted to the league’s inaugural 17 teams.

Brendan Donohue, the NBA 2K League’s managing director, held an AMA on the NBA 2K subreddit Monday laying out how his league is looking for players. Here’s the main gist of what Donohue announced:

• The 2K League will hold a two-part tryout process beginning in January.

• The first part of this process will run from Jan. 1-31 as an open tryout where players will need to win 50 games in NBA 2K18’s Pro-Am mode online from the comforts of their own homes and complete an online application.

• This open tryout in January is open to both PS4 and Xbox ONE players of NBA 2K18.

• Players must be age 18 or older.

• Players can accumulate their 50 Pro-Am wins either as part of a larger team they usually play with, as a walk-on within the mode, or a combination of both.

• Winning more than 50 games won’t increase a player’s chance of getting scouted.

• The second stage of tryouts will run in February from a selected group that were able to make it through the first phase.

Of course, as much as he revealed, Donohue left a lot of specifics behind the curtain. And while this announcement was pegged as an AMA, there were a lot of questions that went unanswered with simply “more details to come” – such as more in-depth information on how the February tryouts will work.

Still, some of the community’s questions were able to be fielded with somewhat satisfactory results. Here are the highlights in FAQ in form:

How will the 2K League handle team competitive balance?
This question was brought up a lot and Donohue’s answer was, essentially, that league parity would be created through “balanced characters.”

What this means exactly is anybody’s guess, but it could point to a standard player rating across the board for every player’s 2K avatar. Since real-life players like LeBron James and his 98-overall rating won’t be included as part of the 2K League, making a standard rating of 80 across the board for all player characters could potentially create the balanced environment Donohue appears to be seeking.

Will special privilege be given to Twitch streamers/YouTubers?
A legitimate complaint because of the profile streamers and YouTube stars can have on video game communities, Donohue assured those interested in getting into the NBA 2K League that “playing ability is paramount.”

With that said, he also encouraged people to get out there and stream their matches, so having a Twitch account might help you a little bit in the long run, still.

Can you carry over your previous Pro-Am wins to qualify for the tryout application?
The 50 wins players have to earn for their tryout application must all be earned in the month of January.

For the players who weren’t able to make it and get drafted by one of the inaugural 17 teams, will there be future opportunities to make a roster?
Donohue alluded that as the league grows – and he has very high hopes that it will – more professional 2K opportunities will be there for those with the ability.

Adding to this, team management positions will also eventually open. Case in point: Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment is looking for an “esports manager” position right now and, by the looks of things, it won’t only involve the Toronto Raptors’ NBA 2K League team, but will also involve projects with EA Sports’ FIFA and NHL video game series as well.