We caught up with Blazer5 Gaming, the league leader in wins in the NBA 2K League, to talk about their journeys to playing NBA 2K on a professional level and to pick their brains about some NBA 2K19 player ratings.
Based in Portland, Blazer5 Gaming has a outstanding 11-1 win-loss record going into the playoffs, outscoring the competition by a whopping 99 points throughout the year. Digital Trends’ social media guru Riley Winn spoke with two members of the six-man team.
Connor Rodrigues, AKA Dat Boy Shotz, plays power forward. A longtime fan of the yearly basketball sim, Rodrigues went to the combine for open tryouts at the end of last season and beat out other 2K players for a spot on Blazer5. Dayne Downey, AKA One Wild Walnut, one of two centers on the team, started playing NBA 2K when he was nine years old on Xbox 360. At the combine, Downey qualified for the 2K League draft as a center and power forward. Blazer5 picked him with the sixth pick in the draft. He alluded to the fact that potential players go through both an application round and interviews before getting drafted. It’s worked out quite well for Downey, as he was recently named NBA 2K League MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
Although they certainly seem happy playing a video game for a living, Rodrigues said he would prefer being an actual NBA player rather than playing as one in a video game. Neither of the pros have played with an NBA player, but Rodrigues said he would love to play with Kyrie Irving. Downey, meanwhile, would like to face off against Paul George. Both George and Irving are rumoted to be solid NBA 2K players.
We asked both pro gamers to assess a few player ratings recently handed out to NBA stars. They agreed that Damian Lillard’s 90 rating is perfect, and that LeBron James, the best player in the game, should be rated 99, not the 98 that the developers assigned him. But they disagreed on Karl-Anthony Towns. Rodrigues thought Towns’ 91 rating was too high, while Downey said the big man should be rated a point or two higher.
Check out the full video above for more insight from two of the best NBA 2K players in the world.