Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell Headline Players-Only NBA 2K Tournament Bracket

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Kevin Durant looks on during a game at the Staples Center on March 10, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Credit: 2020 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond and free-agent big man DeMarcus Cousins will headline a players-only NBA 2K video game tournament.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the tournament—which will start Friday—will take place over 10 days and air on ESPN.

The NBA suspended its season March 11 after Jazz center Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Several other players tested positive afterward, including Mitchell and Durant.

Mitchell was officially cleared last week, and Durant said he felt fine when speaking to The Athletic two weeks ago.

The NBA season is suspended with no obvious timeline in place for its return, so the league and ESPN are searching for ways to create compelling content. Having 16 well-known NBA players compete in the popular NBA 2K video game franchise could draw significant interest.

The theory has already been tested and proved by NASCAR and Fox. Over the past two weeks, NASCAR drivers have competed in iRacing events that have aired on FS1. Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), 903,000 viewers tuned in for the first race, making it the most-watched esports event in United States history.

Taking into account that ESPN has a higher profile than FS1, as well as the star power of the players involved, the NBA 2K tournament has a chance to top iRacing in that regard.

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