Seventeen NBA Teams Sign On To Appear In NBA 2K Esports League

Image via 2K Games
Image via 2K Games

Today the NBA and Take-Two Interactive announced the 17 NBA teams that have agreed to participate in the inaugural NBA 2K league. The NBA teams that will let their virtual logos and jerseys appear in the esports league are:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Utah Jazz
  • Washington Wizards

The league will draft teams of five players to compete in a five-month season, which will mirror the NBA with a regular season, bracketed playoffs, and a final championship match to wrap it all up. Players will create their own avatars for competition, so no one will be using avatars of the recognizable basketball stars that appear in NBA 2K, like LeBron James or Kyrie Irving.


The NBA is the first pro sports league to co-own an esports organization in the United States. In Europe, several soccer leagues have signed on to participate in a FIFA esports league. Earlier this year, ESPN partnered with EA for broadcasting rights of these FIFA matches. FIFA has also been chosen as one of the esports games to appear as a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games. By co-owning their own esports league, the NBA is following in the footsteps of European soccer clubs, and piggybacking on the rise of esports viewership in North America.

Deputy Editor, Kotaku.



Wait, how is it that individual teams have to allow their logos to be used? Isn’t one of the major benefits of having a league licensing office that you pay that office and get licenses for all the teams at once?

I’ve never seen a version of NBA2K, Madden, The Show, or any other officially licensed game where the Cowboys or Yankees just decided to sit this one out. So why is this different?