NBA Launching Its Own Pro Gaming League With Take-Two

Say hello to the NBA 2K eLeague.

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The NBA today announced a partnership with Take-Two to create a professional gaming league dedicated to the popular NBA 2K series. Called the NBA 2K eLeague, it's described as a "new, professional competitive gaming league that will bring together the best basketball gamers in the world." According to Take-Two, this is the first officially organized esports league run by a United States pro sports league.

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The NBA 2K eLeague will premiere in 2018. There will be teams run by NBA franchises (the Philadelphia Sixers announced their own team in 2016). There will be five pro gamers on each time who will play with user-created avatars instead of with the likenesses of real players. The teams will be announced in the coming months. It's unclear if all 30 NBA teams will participate.

Just like the real NBA, there will be a regular season, a playoff, and a championship.

"We believe we have a unique opportunity to develop something truly special for our fans and the young and growing esports community," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA sports team operators with Take-Two's competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience."

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick added: "We are proud to expand our strong relationship with the NBA and co-create the NBA 2K eLeague. Through the NBA 2K series, which is renowned throughout the world for capturing the authenticity of the NBA and the passion of its fans, we have a proven track record of highly successful collaboration. With this new venture, Take-Two and the NBA aim to fuel the accelerating growth of esports and take the thrill of competition to exciting new heights."

NBA and Take-Two have been in business together since 1999 for the highly regarded NBA 2K series. The newest entry, NBA 2K17, has shipped almost 7 million units and is on pace to become the company's best-selling sports game ever. In all, the NBA 2K franchise has sold more than 68 million copies worldwide.

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