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Volume 26 No. 181
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Players-Only "NBA 2K" Tournament Offers Distraction For Fans

The NBA on Friday night will begin a players-only "NBA 2K" tournament -- to be broadcast on ESPN -- featuring some of the league's most avid gamers, including Nets F Kevin Durant, and the event "could offer a distraction for fans who are missing the game and a little competition," according to Chris Haynes of YAHOO SPORTS (4/1). In Minneapolis, Jerry Zgoda notes the players will "compete for the next 12 days in video game competitions televised on ESPN and ESPN2, as well as via ESPN and NBA apps and their social-media channels." The players will compete for $100,000 that will be "donated to coronavirus relief efforts." Durant and Heat F Derrick Jones Jr., the 16th seed, will "play first" at 7:30pm ET Friday on ESPN (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/3). In DC, Boren & Bieler noted for Durant, the event will "represent the closest he has come to meaningful basketball competition since he tore his Achilles' tendon" while playing for Warriors in the '19 NBA Finals (WASHINGTON POST, 4/1).

KEEP IT GOING: In Miami, David Wilson noted some teams, including the Suns, have "continued their seasons virtually by having players" like G Devin Booker "play 'NBA 2K' against players from other teams across the league." The Suns "aired one of these games on the radio Friday and the Wizards have been broadcasting games on their local television affiliate." The "NBA 2K" tournament is the NBA's and ESPN's "biggest dive into eSports since every major sport had its season preempted by the pandemic," as the league "searches for a way to salivate fans' thirst for basketball and ESPN looks for alternative content to broadcast with live sports on hold" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/1).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.