On Wednesday, Commissioner Adam Silver explained that the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) decision to enter eSports renders it the ‘fourth league in our family.’
Silver believes in the staying power of the NBA 2K League and he estimates this initiative will continue to develop in the future and generate steady interest similar to the NBA, WNBA, and G League themselves. According to Silver, NBA will treat the league as an integral part of its overall organisation.
As part of a media address on Wednesday, Silver revealed the name of the first player who had joined, namely Artreyo ‘Dimez’ Boyd. Boyd will compete on behalf of Mavs Gaming.
Silver then gave the word to 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. Donohue pointed to the substantial interest in the league, with 72,000 signed-up entrants joining in the initial stages.
He also noted that the company wanted to reward the efforts of the players who have made it all the way to the final 102. The first 17 picks will receive a competitive salary of $35,000. Following that, every athlete to join the five-man teams in the NBA 2K League will receive $32,000.
Offering eSports athletes remuneration is a step towards the adoption of the discipline into the mainstream. Football, tennis and Formula 1 are all seeking to include electronic sports as part of their overall brand offer.
Silver observed that none of the 102 finalists were women and said that he is concerned about women’s absence from eSports.
Some argue that female players may simply not be interested in basketball eSports whereas they prefer sword-and-sorcery titles, such as League of Legends and Dota 2.