Basketball is back starting Friday, as the NBA and ESPN have partnered together to host the “NBA 2K” Players Tournament.
While they won't be playing the sport physically, the participants will find themselves playing this year's edition of NBA 2K, a basketball video game that will be played on Xbox One.
The tournament will feature 16 different active NBA players as they play for bragging rights and, more importantly, the right to donate $100,000 to a charity of the winners choice in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.
Players will be seeded based off of their ratings in NBA 2K, then followed by their tenure in the NBA in the case of a tie in rating. Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets will be coming in as the 1st seed with a 96 rating and the Miami Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. is seeded 16th with a 78 rating.
Of the participating players, Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell are the only two who have tested positive for the coronavirus as of now.
From Friday through April 11, the players will face off in single-elimination matches for rounds one and two, with the semifinals and finals being best-of-three's. All of the players will select eight current NBA teams to use in the tournament with each team only being used by them once.
The matches will be showcased live on ESPN and ESPN 2 but can also be streamed through the NBA app and on the @NBA or @NBA2K profiles for Twitter, Twitch, Youtube and Facebook.
Kevin Durant and Derrick Jones Jr. will play the first game slated for Friday at 4:30 p.m. after a preview show hosted on ESPN. The rest of the matchups will play throughout the night and the week going forward. The full schedule has been listed on the NBA’s website.
Betting will take part on various online outlets where esports betting exists.
At the time of publication, the best odds were being given to five seed Devin Booker — a +300 favorite to win the tournament. Booker actively streams games on his Twitch channel and can usually be found playing games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
For basketball fans, this may be as close as we will get to actual action for the foreseeable future.