Jazz Gaming takes virtual hardwood

As the third season of the NBA 2K League gets underway, Utah Jazz Gaming has something to prove. The official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Utah Jazz has continued to see growth in each of its first two campaigns, and under second-year head coach Jelani “Comp” Mitchell, the team is looking to rise to new heights in the NBA’s 23-team professional esports league.

The team’s first week of the season features a contest under the bright lights of national television: a matchup against Heat Check Gaming (Miami affiliate) on Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. (MT) on ESPN2. The club will make its season debut on Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m. (MT) against Magic Gaming (Orlando affiliate). All games are simulcast live on ESPN’s platforms and the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.

“We’re in a place in the world where we need sports, whether it’s esports or actual sports,” said Jazz Gaming Head Coach Jelani “Comp” Mitchell in a recent conference call with media. “It’s just great to turn on the TV and get to watch a form of basketball with live commentary and things of that nature.”

The NBA 2K League is starting the 2020 season with at least six weeks of remote competition in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with Utah playing from the Jazz Gaming Lounge powered by Maverik on Level 5 of Vivint Smart Home Arena. Players compete by controlling unique characters – not NBA players – in 5-on-5 gameplay.

“You actually have your face virtually scanned into the game,” guard Shaka “Yeah I Compete” Browne told ABC4 in Salt Lake City last month. “I’m actually watching myself on the court competing with five other guys. It’s insane. It’s funny kind of living my dreams out virtually.”

Browne was the franchise’s first-ever draft selection in 2018, and the team also welcomes back center Spencer “Ria” Wyman, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft. Lytel “Lotty” Martin, who is Browne’s childhood friend from Mount Vernon, N.Y., rounds out the returning players from last season’s squad.

Three newcomers selected at the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft will be donning the Jazz Gaming jersey for the first time: Kimanni “Splashy” Ingram, Freddy “GetOnMyLevel” Whelan and Brent “Lord Beezus” Aasgaard. “Splashy” and “GetOnMyLevel” will be making their NBA 2K League debuts in 2020, while “Lord Beezus” has a season of experience on his resume with Pacers Gaming, the NBA 2K League affiliate of the Indiana Pacers, in 2019.

Games begin at 5 p.m. (MT) every Tuesday through Friday with four distinct matchups each night airing live on ESPN’s platforms, Twitch and YouTube. Tuesday’s games are also broadcast on Sportsnet (Canada).

Each match is played in a best-of-three format, which allows the NBA 2K League broadcast to switch between games in real-time and give fans more opportunities to experience the league’s most exciting moments.

Each three-game series victory represents one regular-season win, and each three-game series loss represents one regular-season loss.

For more information, follow @UtahJazzGaming on social media and visit www.jazzgaming.gg.