Basketball

Kevin Durant headlines players-only NBA 2K video game tournament

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant will headline the list of 16 National Basketball Association players who will compete in a NBA 2K video game tournament to help support coronavirus relief efforts, the NBA and its e-sports arm said on Tuesday.

Durant, the NBA's most prominent name to test positive for the coronavirus, is the top seed in the players-only tournament that begins tomorrow and concludes on April 11.

The tournament, during which players will compete from their homes, was announced three weeks after the NBA suspended its season until further notice, after one its players tested positive for coronavirus.

Two-time NBA champion Durant, who has been sidelined with an Achilles injury suffered during last June's NBA Finals while he was with the Golden State Warriors, will open the tournament against Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr tomorrow.

All players will use the roster of one of their eight pre-selected current NBA teams that they may use only once during the tournament.

The tournament champion will select a charity beneficiary to receive a US$100,000 (S$142,000) donation in support of ongoing coronavirus relief efforts.

The first two rounds of the tournament will be single elimination, with the semi-finals and final moving to a best-of-three format.

The NBA 2K League, which pits the world's best players of the popular NBA 2K video game against each other, launched in 2018.

"This tournament offers a unique opportunity for our players to compete with one another while also supporting their philanthropic efforts and engaging with their fans," Josh Goodstadt, a representative of the players union's commercial arm, said in a statement.

"We are excited to work with 2K and the NBA to bring this experience to life for the entire NBA community."

Meanwhile, the NBA and the players association are in discussions regarding withholding up to 25 per cent of players' pay in the event regular-season games are cancelled, ESPN reported on Tuesday night. - REUTERS

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