As the world of esports and traditional sports continue to converge, pro gamers are becoming more ingrained in sports brands and learning from their sporting counterparts.
For Harry "HazzaUK2K" Hurst, a 21-year-old former recruitment consultant for Reading, he's living the dream in the States playing for the Dallas Mavericks' NBA 2K esports team, Mavs Gaming.
In a recent press conference/interview, he explained how he's learning from the basketball players and taking elements of their play into his game.
"From real life games we can take set plays and motions and transfer them into the game," Harry said. "So for example Golden State play five out a lot of the time, so we can transfer that into our game.
"We can have a lot of shooters on our team so we would target the three point line as much as possible. For people who don’t know how it works in the 2K League, each position has its individual archetypes for how you want your players to play.
"For example you might be fast and athletic but then not so good at shooting and the teams decide what type of player you’re going to be and you can base your offense and defense around that like a lot of NBA teams."
"Training is similar [to actual basketball]. We often have video sessions where we watch how other teams play, how we play and how we can transfer those skills into the game."
HazzaUK2K, Dallas Mavericks
Harry continued: "Training is very similar as well. We often have video sessions where we watch how other teams play, how we play and how we can transfer those skills into the game. We spend hours each day working on plans and taking down notes so we have things to work on. Then we work on these smaller details in training to make sure we’re a step ahead."
Does playing real life basketball help when playing in the NBA 2K League?
"I find a lot of my strengths in the game have come from my real-life NBA knowledge," Harry commented. "I already knew what was needed for certain plays. So NBA players would be a lot better than people who wouldn’t actually know how to play basketball as they know where to stand, how to play and when to shoot. It’s the little things like that that help you become a good 2K player. So I would say that an NBA player would have a definite advantage over someone who has never player 2K before."
What about the future? Can Harry see the NBA 2K League being as big as the real-life NBA at some point?
"Yeah I can," he responds. "We’re building a base for our fans and we’re only in our first season so we’ll push the league as far as we can. But we know it’s an American dominated sport. I believe it’s only me, Jannis and Gooner who are from Europe. So we know it’s not as popular there but for the younger generation, they are becoming more interested in esports, it’s a growing organisation and so we’re trying to reach fans everywhere.
"So hopefully in a few years’ time the league will blow up and become huge."
You can watch the NBA 2K League live on Twitch