Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has won the NBA 2K Players Tournament with a 2-0 series sweep over real-life teammate Deandre Ayton.
The All-Star received a US$100,000 prize to donate to his charity of choice, as well as bragging rights of being the NBA’s best NBA 2K player — at least out of the 16 players who participated. He beat the Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr., Washington Wizards’ Rui Hachimura, and Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell on the way to his finals matchup with Ayton.
Booker is one of the more prominent pro athletes with strong ties to the gaming industry today. He moonlights as a Call of Duty streamer in collaboration with LA-based 100Thieves whenever the Suns are not playing.
Booker’s gaming savvy was on full display in the finals as he scored the sweep despite playing the underdog in both games. In game one, Booker used the Houston Rockets against Ayton’s larger and more physical Los Angeles Lakers. In the second game, Booker chose second-tier Western Conference team Denver Nuggets to match up against Ayton’s league-best Milwaukee Bucks.
The tournament rules stated that players could only choose a team once.
The NBA 2K Players Tournament is one of several initiatives that the world-famous basketball league has taken in light of its regular season’s suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the competition lasted barely over a week, it produced some real gems of quality entertainment for fans of the game — both in real-life and on the virtual screen.
Top-seeded Kevin Durant was knocked out of the tournament right in the opening round, falling to the Miami Heat’s high-flying but low-rated Derrick Jones, Jr. In-game ratings clearly don’t translate into real-life video game skills. Sorry, KD.
The tournament’s ESPN broadcast also gave Clipper guard Patrick Beverly the perfect stage to showcase his signature trash talk.
As for the finals matchup, while the Phoenix Suns might not have had much success in the real NBA, at least their roster is stocked with some skilled gamers.
Maybe just don’t ask the champ to use his real-life team to win a virtual tournament.