December has been a whirlwind for the NBA 2k League. From Brendan Donahue’s AMA on Reddit, to the announcement of each franchises Esports “orgs”, there is something for everyone to get excited about. Chief among those excited for the 2k League, is Anthony Muraco, Director of Gaming Operations for Cavs Legion GC.
A New Dual Sport Athlete
Muraco didn’t know this at the time, but he was the first a new wave of dual sport athletes. No, I’m not talking about someone playing Football and Basketball. Rather, I’m talking about an elite athlete in sports and Esports.
“I was a professional World of Warcraft (WOW) player during college. I also played college football..It was a gut-check to say the least.”
I found just playing college football to be overwhelming at times. I couldn’t imagine being a professional gamer in addition to my athletic and collegiate responsibilities. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Muraco during that time. It’s good to know that campus internet, as it is for most students, was the bane of his existence.
“Oh I would 100% rage quit because of the internet connection…I actually had a local AT&T crew come in and set up personal internet for me so I could compete consistently at a high level.”
I think we will see new dual sport athletes like Anthony Muraco in the coming years as Esports becomes more mainstream and professional.
Connecting The Dots
Muraco, like every director I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with, is incredibly well-versed in the Esports industry. Thankfully for Muraco, the Cleveland Cavaliers were similarly aware of the incredible potential of the emerging Esports industry.
“They were in the process of purchasing stake in the 100 Thieves Esports team…My job was to teach them how to activate the local market and show them what sponsors wanted to see.”
Muraco also went on to say that the Cavaliers’ experience in Esports prior to the NBA 2k League gives them an advantage. Not because they are undeniably more knowledgeable about the industry, but because everyone in their organization has bought in. No matter who it is, everyone within their organization is a believer in Esports and the NBA 2k League.
Addressing Communal Concerns
I was incredibly excited to hear Muraco’s commentary on the NBA 2k League qualification process. Specifically, we talked about the 50-win threshold, and the current meta.
“I understand people’s concerns about 50 being to low…but we want to make sure that the casual player has an opportunity to compete…I know there are casual players who are incredibly skilled.
That explanation makes perfect sense. They don’t want any “diamonds in the rough” to slip through the cracks and not be eligible for the upcoming draft. Overall, I would say the community is fine with the 50-win benchmark and are excited about January 1st.
Anthony and I also talked about the current 5-out meta and the problems with defensive mechanics.
“Full disclosure, there will be a new mode separate from NBA 2k 18. It will address some of those concerns and Take 2 has done a great job.”
Muraco goes on in more detail, but you’ll have to tune into the 2k Corner 3 Podcast to hear exactly how the league plans to address growing concerns about the current meta.
Silencing The NBA 2k League Doubters
I ask this question to everyone I interview, and it’s an important one. Usually, I’m told that at this Esport at its core, is just basketball. However, I got a different response from Muraco.
“It would be foolish to doubt the NBA…Their marketing power combined with all of the high level influencers that play and love NBA 2k will make this work.”
Of all the answers I’ve heard, that was the best one. Muraco presented a new perspective that I had never really thought about before. It’s clear that with his leadership and the commitment of the entire Cleveland Cavaliers franchise, the Cavs Legion will no doubt be formidable in the inaugural season of the NBA 2k League.
You can hear the full interview, including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become part of the NBA 2k League in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.
“From Our Haus to Yours”