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NBA To Partner Up On Launch Of ‘NBA 2K eLeague’

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The NBA is about to make history by partnering in the launch of the first eSports league operated by one of the four major pro sports leagues in the country.

NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software announced early Thursday morning that they are bringing some of the best gamers in the world together, who will represent actual teams, to compete in an effort to expand the NBA’s global brand.

The NBA is entering the realm of eSports.

“The large part of my mission is to grow the game of basketball,” Silver told The Associated Press. “There’s going to be an opportunity for this first of a kind league to attract a group of gamers who might be playing some other game. Now, they can say `Maybe I couldn’t play for the Knicks, because I didn’t have the physical prowess to compete at that level. But I do have the mental and physical prowess to compete as an egamer for the eKnicks.”‘

“NBA 2K eLeague” is scheduled to debut in 2018. The league will start with about 8-12 teams – Silver did not say which teams, but noted that eventually all 30 NBA teams will be represented. Each NBA owner is being given the opportunity to build teams at their own pace.

“The idea sounds amazing,” said Stephon Johnson, an Atlanta native and frequent online video game player who attends Grambling State University. “Combining NBA 2K gamers with the actual the NBA would be awesome. A lot of us gamers had once dreamt of playing in the NBA.”

NBA teams and Take-Two will conduct a recruiting process to select gamers which will run them through a virtual combine. From there the gamers will be selected via a draft which Silver indicated will either be televised or be available via online streaming.

Much like a real NBA season, gamers will go through an 82-game season, playoffs and the top teams will compete for a championship.

“We want to make this as real as possible,” said Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two, the parent company of 2K games. He said there will be a cash prize for the winner similar to some of the past NBA 2K tournaments that awarded a $250,000 grand prize.

The success of “NBA 2K16 Road to the Finals” was a catalyst to the launching of this idea.

“People already have their own consoles and computers,” Zelnick said. “I do think that teams will be fully engaged with training players. That could mean providing gear, but it won’t be a very significant investment.”

Zelnick said NBA teams could train gamers, who will be using their own consoles.

“People already have their own consoles and computers,” Zelnick said. “I do think that teams will be fully engaged with training players. That could mean providing gear, but it won’t be a very significant investment.”

“There are risks, but if this does work, this will pay off enormously,” Ryan McCaffrey, an executive editor at the entertainment media company Image Games Network, said. “Not necessarily for the financial in the short term, but more of the longevity and health of the NBA and brand with retaining that young audience. I think them tying the eLeague to the actual NBA teams is brilliant.”

Are you ready to game? The NBA certainly hopes so.

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Golden State Warriors

Sports Reporter Suing Kings’ Luke Walton for Sexual Assault Allegations

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Sacramento Kings new head coach Luke Walton is already in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, and he has hired attorney Mark Baute to defend him against the allegations of sexual battery made by sports reporter Kelly Tennant, who is suing Walton.

According to TMZ Sports, Walton and his legal team are blasting the accuser, and Baute issued the following statement;

“Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations,” Baute said. 

“The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, & her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom.”

According to the suit, Tennant, who worked as a reporter for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA, claims that while Walton was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, he asked her to come and meet him at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica, California, to drop off a book she had published.

Tennant says that she asked Walton to write the forward in her book due to a business relationship that the two had had for several years.

Upon arriving at Walton’s hote, he conviced her to come up to his room so that the two could “catch up” and upon arriving in his room Walton pinned her to the bed and placed his hips and legs over her body, forcing kisses on her neck, face, and chest.

Tennant claims that she screamed for him to stop and attempted to break free, but Walton held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.

Tennant claims she was “in shock and fear. She was afraid she was about to be raped,” the suit states. 

Additionally, Tennant claims that when Walton finally stopped and released her he escorted her out of the hotel room as if nothing ever happened and she claims that “He smiled, laughed again and made the disturbing statement, ‘Good to see you,'”

The disturbing behavior allegedly continued while Walton was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers back in May 2017, and Tennant claims that Walton once greeted her by uttering “vulgar, guttural sounds at her” and said, “mmmm … you’re killing me in that dress.”

The Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Sacramento Kings all stated that they had no knowledge of the alleged incident during Walton’s tenure.

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NBA

NBA 2K League Announces Livestreaming Partnership with Twitch

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Last week, the NBA 2K League officially announced a partnership with Twitch that makes the popular streaming platform the exclusive broadcaster for all league games.

Twitch now will be listed as the official livestreaming partner of the NBA 2K League, as well as one of the league’s founding partners, via the new deal.

Earlier in April, the NBA 2K League broadcasted it’s inaugural draft live on Twitch streams, an indicator that the two sides were working towards a more permanent working relationship.

The multi-year partnership deal includes all 199 potential games in the NBA 2K League season and the format includes weekly head to head matches, 3 regular season tournaments, a playoff bracket, and the finals.

Additionally, Twitch will assist in developing interactive custom overlays for use in the NBA 2K League broadcast, including other fan engagement initiatives and projects.

“This is a groundbreaking partnership for the NBA 2K League” NBA 2K League managing director Brendan Donohue said.

“Twitch shares our innovative spirit and commitment to putting the gaming community first, and is the ideal home to provide our passionate 2K, NBA, and esports fans around the world with the opportunity to catch all the excitement of our inaugural season.”

Twith has been in the business of partnerships such as these, as they reportedly paid $90 million for the exclusive broadcast rights to the Overwatch League back in January of this year.

It’s another big “get” for Twitch and will bring even more attention to the millions of Twitch channels on the growing platform, particularly in their Twitch sports section.

It also continues their separation from competitors such as Mixer streams, YouTube gaming, Facebook gaming, Caffeine Streams, and DLive streams, which is being aggressive to become more competitive in the streaming industry.

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NBA

Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested

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Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).

Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.

According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.

Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.

Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.

Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.

“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.

The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”

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