NBA commish Silver welcomes 102 ‘athletes’ in NBA2K draft

By Jeff Reynolds

Artreyo Boyd was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA 2K League Draft on Wednesday.

“For it to actually happen is a crazy feeling,” said Boyd. “They’re definitely getting a leader and a winner. My resume speaks for itself. I won last year’s tournament. … Let’s get it, man. Let’s do it.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the pick made by Mavs Gaming. Boyd, aka Dimez, was the first of 102 total selections in the debut league. Seventeen of the NBA’s 30 franchises have teams in the NBA 2K League.

The start of the event played out much like the NBA’s annual draft, with Silver at a podium to welcome the No. 1 selection, which was first reported by ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

“From the NBA’s standpoint, this is our fourth league,” Silver said before taking the stage at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. “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.”

The Celtics (CLTX Gaming) used the second pick on Albano Thomallari from St. Louis. Thomallari, aka oFAB, said his parents told him a few months ago it was time to get a job. But oFAB asked them to give him until March, then qualified for the NBA 2K League Draft. Now he said he’s headed to Boston with one mission: “Create a brotherhood and win a championship.”

Each team consists of six players. They will earn $32,000-$35,000 over six months while competing for a bigger prize — the $1,000,000 prize pool. Players also receive health insurance and retirement plans and housing is provided.

Silver said he appreciates all of the new “athletes” joining the NBA family.

“I do see them as athletes,” Silver said. “Because it requires a unique combination of physical and mental skills to excel. It’s not that different than the NBA, where you have to have incredible physical skills, but our very best players bring a certain mental focus and prowess to the court as well. It’s a different set of physical skills certainly, but to watch these gamers/athletes compete, what I’ve read about their training regimens they go through, it’s incredibly hard work.”

The inaugural season of NBA 2K League begins in May.

First Round draft picks:
1. Mavs Gaming Select Point Guard Artreyo “Dimez” Boyd
2. Celtics Crossover Gaming Select Point Guard Albano “oFAB” Thomallari
3. Jazz Gaming Select Point Guard Shaka “Yeah I Compete” Browne
4. King’s Guard Gaming Select Power Forward Mitchell “Mootyy” Franklin
5. Pistons GT Select Power Forward Ramo “Lets Get It Ramo” Radoncic
6. Blazer5 Gaming Select Center Dayne “OneWildWalnut” Downey
7. Heat Check Gaming Select Center Jaun “Hotshot” Gonzalez
8. Magic Gaming Select Point Guard Christopher “KontruL” Cantrell
9. Knicks Gaming Select Power Forward Dayvon “G O O F Y 7 5 7” Curry
10. Bucks Gaming Select Point Guard Aaron “Drake Griffin” Rookwood
11. Raptors Uprising GC Select Point Guard Kenneth “Kenny” Hailey
12. Wizards District Gaming Select Point Guard Johnathon “Fresh Prince” Fields
13. Pacers Gaming Select Small Forward Bryant “WoLF” Colon
14. 76ers GC Select Point Guard Ethan “Radiant” White
15. Grizz Gaming Select Point Guard Larell “Winner_Stayz_On” Mitchell
16. Cavs Legion GC Select Point Guard Brandon “Glitchy” Caicedo
17. Warriors Gaming Squad Select Small Forward Trong “Shawn_Win” Nguyen

–Field Level Media