With the formation of T-Wolves Gaming, professional NBA 2K is about to become a lot more popular in the state of Minnesota. However, there are many who don’t know much about the sport. A big part of the work of building the T-Wolves Gaming franchise is going to be raining the popular understanding of the sport.
T-Wolves Gaming players Brandon Caceido (who goes as HoodBC_) and Mihad Feratovic (known as iFeast) and Head Coach and GM Shawn Vilvens all sat down with Timberwolves and Lynx staff to answer their questions on Wednesday afternoon.
Probably the most interesting thing from the session was hearing the players talk about how different it is to play in the NBA 2K League compared to playing it as a hobby or even at lower levels of competition.
NBA 2K league games have thousands of viewers streaming online, but there is also a live audience in studio in New York. The stakes are high and the atmosphere is extremely intense. That’s a far cry from playing at home in your living room or basement.
“Being actually live with the whole world watching you on Twitch, you’ve got a full studio watching you, you’ve got commentators coming through talking over your headset so you can hear everything,” said iFeast.
In that environment, the pressure is intense. It’s an activity that’s usually played for your own personal achievement, but in the 2K league, players are competing for more than that.
“The game is only 20 minutes,” said Hood. “You have all that pressure on the line. You don’t want to let your teammates down or all your fans down, so for me that was the biggest challenge.”
In addition to the intensity of games, the practices will be no joke either. The team will practice for hours, watch tape, complete skills training and even go through live walkthroughs on the court.
Coach Shawn Vilvens will make sure to give the players time to rest, work out, eat and take a break from staring at the screen, but it’s a demanding routine nevertheless.
It’s interesting watching things come together for T-Wolves Gaming. Where players entering the NBA and WNBA have the benefit of a ton of infrastructure, NBA 2K League players and coaches are, as Wolves Chief Strategy Officer Ted Johnson puts it, “building the airplane as they’re flying it.”
The season doesn’t start for another few months, but when it does the squad will be ready to go. Gaining a competitive edge in whatever way possible is paramount. For T-Wolves Gaming, that means building the best facilities they can, helping their players to develop chemistry on and off the court and trying to raise awareness of the league.
Certainly after today Timberwolves and Lynx staff have a clearer picture of what it means to be a pro 2K player, more people around the Cities are sure to follow.