When Kevin Durant tested positive for coronavirus, little thought he would be one of the first stars to leap back into NBA action. But, in a way, the NBA 2K video game has allowed for that to happen.
That's because Durant headlines a group of 16 players who will partake in an NBA 2K tournament on ESPN. Durant is joined by Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, Devin Booker and several other players who are known for their gaming skills as well as their basketball prowess.
Durant and Mitchell were two of the most notable NBA players to become ill with COVID-19, and Mitchell's case was enwrapped in controversy due to the behavior of his teammate Rudy Gobert. For now, though, the players look to have some fun in their off time while continuing to bring viewers to the NBA, or at least to its virtual equivalent.
Back in 2010, Durant was quoted as saying that "all [he did] was play video games," so he clearly is deserving of the one-seed in this bracket, though the seeding was determined not by the players' video game skill but by their NBA 2K player rating.
Mitchell and Young have already been a part of the gaming world during this NBA hiatus, when the two exchanged some friendly trash talk over social media due to Mitchell's bid to play Fortnite with a professional gamer.
This virtual basketball competition could be the closest thing we see to real on-court action for the foreseeable future. A cancellation of the entire 2019-20 season has not yet been ruled out, and though everyone would obviously love to see play resume at some point, recent action in China and the continual increase of coronavirus cases does not seem particularly promising at the time being.
Who knows? When my brother and I used to play NBA 2K video games, my dad would come in the room and ask what the score was as if it were a real game. With how realistic the graphics of become over the years and with some of our favorite NBA personalities taking part in the competition, ESPN could be airing something that really helps to fill the gap left in the wake of COVID-19.