NBA 2K community

2K Corner Series: Interview with Pacers’ Cody Parrent

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.

NBA 2K community

Image Courtesy of Cody Parrent’s LinkedIn

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.

To stay updated be sure to follow Cody Parrent on Twitter @codyparrent and Kelly Krauskopf, President of the Indiana Fever and Senior Vice President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment @FeverPrez.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

“From Our Haus to Yours”

NBA 2k E League

2K Corner Series: An Interview with Wizards’ Grant Paranjape

Imagine you’re back in middle school during the mid 2000’s. All of your friends are out of town or busy with their families, so you resort to playing computer games. You stumble upon World of Warcraft (WOW), and after a few hours, you’re instantly hooked.

This is how it all began for Grant Paranjape, the Director of Esports for the Washington Wizards. Paranjape fell in love with WOW and played professionally. Fast forward to 2017, and Paranjape is using his gaming experience and MBA from Tulane University to take part in building the NBA 2K E League from the ground up.

Breaking into the industry

While it sounds like a great career trajectory, things weren’t always so clear for Paranjape. Like most college students, his entire life plan changed during his tenure at Tulane.

“I was on track to be pre-med, but I missed the deadline to apply because I finished undergrad early”, Paranjape said. As a result, Paranjape pursued the new MBA program at Tulane because it would allow him to finish in one year instead of two.

So with his MBA in hand and professional gaming experience, Paranjape was fielding offers from everyone you can imagine, right? Not exactly.

“There wasn’t a clear path to get in the Esports industry.” It wasn’t until Paranjape reached out to Splyce’s co-founder that he landed his first job as their social media manager.

Bridging the Gap Between Sports and Esports

Paranjape gained great experience during his time with Splyce. He spoke at length about how that experience was tremendous and critical to success at his current position. In August of 2017, Paranjape was hired by Monumental Sports Entertainment. He is now officially known as the Washington Wizards’ Director of Esports. Specifically, he would be working help ensure the success of the highly anticipated NBA 2K E League. Paranjape’s experience in the industry and business acumen made him the perfect candidate for this task.

“The first thing I had to do was explain esports…how the industry works and how to activate interest in our market.”

– Grant Paranjape

People like Paranjape are the key to bridging the gap between sports and esports. A former professional esport player who has experience working in an org, as well as an MBA is a great to unlock the barriers between the two industries. They are capable of explaining not only the consumer and what they are looking for, but also translate their wants and needs into effective business strategies.

Goals for Season Zero

NBA 2k E League

Photo courtesy of the YouTube account: titansfreak28

“It’s early, but we want to win,” Paranjape said of his expectations for this season. Given his background as a professional player, he wants to compete for the championship. However, he’s not alone in that goal.

Over the weekend all of the franchise esport directors gathered in New York to brainstorm and talk about season zero, but they also squared off against each other.

“I can’t include myself in the conversation of best NBA 2K player. Of the directors I’d say Anthony Muraco (Cavaliers), Cody Parent (Pacers) and Adam Rubin (Pistons). I think that fact is substantial. It inspires confidence that they will strive to create the best teams possible.”

One of Paranjape’s goals for the NBA 2K E League as a whole was to viewed as a standalone league.

“I think the phrase propped up is the crux of the issue”, Paranjape said.

While co-branding with the NBA would be beneficial, they have to communicate that this is a standalone league and not one that simply being funneled money and infrastructure by the NBA.

Silencing the doubters

He also spoke to those who may be doubting the league and whether or not people will watch it by saying NBA 2K itself has a distinct advantage. Essentially, you’re still just watching basketball. Unlike other popular esports, there is very little keeping the average fan from watching. If they understand basketball, they will understand the games and be interested in the NBA 2K E League.

 

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.

To stay updated be sure to follow Grant Paranjape on Twitter @Keiranthil.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

“From Our Haus to Yours”