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Mavericks part of NBA 2k esports league starting in 2018

Dallas is one of 17 NBA teams participating in the inaugural season.

ELEAGUE: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) Major Championship - Final Day Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Basketball is fun. Video games are fun. Basketball video games are even more fun! Combining that with Mark Cuban’s love of tech, doing outside-of-the-box stuff and jumping on trends, the Dallas Mavericks will be one of 17 teams competing in the NBA 2k esports league in 2018.

The NBA is parting with 2k Sports and their NBA 2k series to do a competitive season similar in structure to an NBA season, with the 17 teams facing off in head-to-head match ups in NBA 2k (I’d assume NBA 2k18 when it launches next year) and then a playoff season and a championship.

Here’s a list of the NBA teams competing from the press release the Mavs sent over:

Oddly enough, a lot of big markets are missing from this list, including Los Angeles and Chicago. Either way, details are slim outside of the teams participating and the (still vague) general league structure. The name of the league isn’t even final, according to video game site Polygon.

To clarify for those who aren’t invested in esports or video games, it sounds like the participating NBA teams each will select a group of five players (not including any actual NBA players), who will then play as any virtual players they like. For example, the Dallas Mavericks will select a “Mavs team” of real-life players, but those players will not necessarily be playing as the virtual Dallas Mavericks in NBA 2k17 or 18; they will simply be representing the team in the competition.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, well, esports is making some serious paper. Like, billion with a B paper (by 2020 at least). Shooting games like Call of Duty, Counter Strike and Halo have all recently hosted tournaments with the winning teams taking home millions in payouts. More strategic and tactical games like Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, and the king of esports, League of Legends rake in even more money.

It is a feeding-frenzy right now, with investors and game publishers each looking to cut out their own piece of the pie. EA Sports has long been hosting tournaments for the Madden football series, so it only made sense that 2k Sports would do the same with their hugely popular NBA 2k franchise, which has regularly been one of the top-selling video games.

It’ll be interesting to see how this goes down and what the exact format will be — without the teams using actual NBA players, I wonder how interested viewership will be — but it’s hard to bet against Mark Cuban when there’s a money-making opportunity available. The press release said we should know more details about the league in the coming months.