SHANGHAI, China – The Asian presence of the NBA 2K League was officially cemented last weekend, after an invitational tournament involving Asia-Pacific.
The event was held at Seoul’s Nexon Arena, and in it, Gen. G Esports unveiled the brand of their very own league franchise: The Tigers of Shanghai.
The Tigers of Shanghai will become the first non-North American competitors to compete in the NBA 2K League, as they join their first competition in 2020.
Gen. G’s NBA 2K Team takes on the black-and-gold color scheme of the eSports brand, as well as the beastial emblem of the Gen. G Seoul Dynasty Overwatch League franchise.
The Tigers of Shanghai are also the first NBA 2K League team that did not originate from a real-life NBA basketball franchise, like Knicks Gaming and the 76ers GC.
This reveal was foreshadowed last year, as Gen. G and the NBA 2K League revealed their partnership in September 2019.
Aside from participation in the League, Gen. G is also assisting it in spreading across the Asian gaming market, especially in China. For example, the company recently hosted a Shanghai Invitational Pro-Am competition, which featured 20 of China’s best NBA 2K players.
The Shangai Invitational resulted in seven Chinese players qualifying for the APAC Invitational.
Similar to last year’s proceedings, personnel from the NBA 2K League will scout the APAC Invitational for potential eSports talent. Participants from South Korea, China, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand will all be weighed for their skill in the game in preparation for the 2020 season draft.
Gen. G’s efforts come after the deterioration of relations between China and the NBA in 2019, after the general manager of the Houston Rockets posted a tweet in support of the Hong Kong protests. However, the controversy generated did not seem to significantly impact the NBA’s foray into eSports.
The NBA 2K League also created an official account on Chinese social media platform Weibo, in order to better reach out to Chinese netizens.
This is all in preparation for the NBA 2K League’s plans to satiated the global appetite for more NBA eSports.
Later this year, the NBA 2K League will host a Global Invitation Match. This series of exhibition matches will pit 2019 league MVP Michael “BearDaBeast” Key, alongside APAC players, against players of NBA2K Online 2.
The aforementioned game is a free-to-play online game, part of a series that is exclusive for Chinese audiences.