Thursday was a monumental day for the NBA 2K series. The NBA and Take-Two Interactive, the maker of the basketball video game series, announced a partnership that will establish the NBA 2K eLeague. This competitive gaming league, which will debut in 2018, will include teams operated by actual NBA franchises. Each inaugural NBA 2K eLeague team will consist of five professional gamers.
Although the announcement came Thursday, Mark Cuban tipped off ThePostGame about the league last Friday in Houston at the LIFEWTR Art After Dark party. Knowing Cuban is an eSports enthusiast, we asked him if eSports would ever have an event on the same level as a Super Bowl, and he diverted the question to basketball.
"I think NBA 2K as a professional sport is going to take off as well," he said. "We're going to get behind it at the NBA."
How behind the league will the NBA get?
"We look forward to combining our best-in-class NBA sports team operators with Take-Two's competitive gaming expertise to create a brand new league experience," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a press release.
The details are all pretty vague right now and there is still a lot of time before launch day.
Considering Cuban's connections to the NBA -- he owns the Dallas Mavericks -- and eSports -- the Shark Tank star has invested millions of dollars in the growing form of competition -- the billionaire is primed to play a major role in the 2K eLeague. And he is willing to go the extra mile if need be.
"We're gonna do something with the Mavs and I already told the NBA that if any of the other owners in the NBA don't take on the 2K teams, I'll grab it," Cuban said.
In his past eSports spending, Cuban has been careful not to purchase actual eSports teams, sticking to the products. "I'm worried about how quickly players burn out," he told Fusion in October.
Now that basketball is involved, things are different for Cuban, and he appears to be a competitive, but nurturing boss.
"What's going on with League of Legends in terms of ownership of teams, it's a little bit overblown," Cuban says. "It's tough simply because you're managing 16-year-olds, 17-year-old kids and you're making them work 20 hours a day in a house in LA. That's a tough situation. But I think if we put it in the right situation with 2K, it's gonna be a lot of fun and we'll be able to create a whole new audience."
Imagine the scene: Clippers vs. Mavericks at the American Airlines Center, Mark Cuban cheering from the front row with Steve Ballmer heckling him across the way. Now, imagine the crowd is watching a high-level NBA 2K matchup on the big screen, not an NBA game on the court. It's going to happen.
Even if Cuban has to own every team.