The regular NBA season is drawing to a close, which means the playoffs are around the corner.
And while the same two dynasties have been in the finals the past three years, there are new teams on the horizon as loyalties have switched and organizations have grown. The Cleveland Cavs have nearly an entirely new roster, the Boston Celtics just suffered a blow with Kyrie Irving’s knee injury, and the Philadelphia 76ers are working Markelle Fultz back into the lineup. Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors still have the best record in the East. As for the West, the Golden State Warriors are obvious favorites barring Steph Curry’s ankles, and the newly formed Houston Rockets are ready to make this year’s Western Conference final an interesting one.
Everyone is waiting to see which city will get the chance to mob the streets in honor of their team. Watch the NBA’s latest playoff commercial below and get hype.
And the playoffs aren’t the only thing the league is ready to get underway. The 2K partnership is ready for tipoff, too. Gaming has been a phenomenon, invading homes—and later handheld devices—for years, and now the NBA is ready to take it to another level.
The NBA has hooked up with eSports to create the NBA 2K League, which pits the world’s best players against each other in a four-month league that begins in May. Seventeen of the league’s 30 franchises are fielding 2K League teams, and if that doesn’t tell you that the NBA is taking the gaming boom seriously, just know that during the draft, Mark Cuban called the gamer the Dallas Mavericks selected with the first overall pick with pure excitement.
And Commissioner Adam Silver approved the declaration, too.
“From the NBA’s standpoint, this is our fourth league. We have the NBA, the WNBA, the G-League and now this is the fourth league in our family, and that’s exactly as we’re treating it,” Silver said an hour before the Mavericks’ gaming team made the historic first pick at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.