A critical component to any athlete’s success is their love for competition. In 2017, that competition is no longer exclusive to the hardwood or grass fields. Instead, the virtual world is home to some of the fiercest competitors in the world.
This is the belief that fuels Cody Parrent, the director of esports for the Indiana Pacers. He now channels his passion to compete into being a leader in the NBA 2K League community.
Driven By Competition and Friendship
Don’t mistake Parrent for being just a gamer. At his core, he’s a competitor.
It started as a teenager. He loved that AAU basketball and club soccer provided him with a time and place to hang out with his friends. However, Parrent never wanted the fun to stop.
“I had to be home at a certain time, and I wanted to keep hanging out with my friends. So we started playing video games online together,” he said.
That soon developed into a passion for Parrent. He would go on to compete in national tournaments in Halo 2 through his high school career. Sadly, he had to temper his competitive spirit in college.
“I wanted to buckle down on my studies,” Parrent said. “I didn’t compete much, but I kept up with the scene.”
It’s a good thing he did. Parrent earned his undergrad and MBA from University of Southern Indiana. After graduation, he and his friends started NBA 2k Lab. With this kind of experience and business acumen, he was no doubt among a short list of candidates for the director of esports position with the Pacers.
Focusing On The Community
One thing that was apparent in our conversation was his genuine understanding and love of the NBA 2K community. This kind of knowledge is critical to the success of the NBA 2K League. Parrent talked about a community event the Pacers hosted at the Game On Esports Center in Westfield, Indiana. He was hoping for an audience of 15 to 20 people to attend so he could educate them about the NBA 2K League. He had no idea what was going to transpire.
“We had over 100 people…people from Colorado, New York City, Orlando…some drove 15 hours to attend our event.”
– Cody Parrent
This kind of attendance does not only foreshadow the league’s success, but it also indicates how great the NBA 2K community is.
What does Parrent attribute to the success of this event? He knows where the community lives.
“The NBA 2K community lives on Twitter,” he said. “People are always talking and messaging with open spots in upcoming games.”
If you’re looking to get involved, search #2kfreeagent and you’ll understand how open and understanding the players in the community are.
Message for Aspiring Pros
We were able to speak at length about the draft process on the 2K Corner 3 Podcast, which you can listen to here. Parrent explained what an aspiring player needs to be doing in order to qualify for the NBA 2K League draft pool in 2018.
“If you’re listening take notes, if you are aspiring to be an NBA 2K League player, the tryout mode in February is what will allow you to get into the draft pool,” Parrent said.
Parrent went on to mention specific items and skills they will be evaluating during that tryout mode. While this isn’t an official announcement by the league, the NBA 2K community should take notice of any advice Parrent has to offer.
Silencing The Doubters
For those who continue to doubt this league’s credibility and success, Parrent has a message for you.
“2K17 sold 9 million copies and has 1.6 million active daily users and a growing Pro Am Scene,” he said.
The numbers clearly illustrate a demand for the game and an engaged consumer. The key will be converting those who don’t qualify for the draft pool and the casual player to tune in once the games start up.
With people like Cody Parrent at the helm, I have no doubt the NBA 2K League will find a way attract and sustain viewers.
You can hear the full interview including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2K player in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.
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