USA Basketball has announced the inaugural 7-player roster for the USA E-National Team, which will debut in December in the 2020 FIBA Esports Open II’s North and Central America Conference.
The team is headlined by NBA 2K League pros, including Rafel “Crush” Davis (Kings Guard Gaming), Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey (Raptors Uprising GC), Malik “OriginalMalik” Hobson (Knicks Gaming), Ramo “Ramo” Radoncic (Pistons GT), Spencer “Ria” Wyman (Jazz Gaming), and 2020 NBA 2K League Draft top pick John “JBM” Mascone (Wizards District Gaming).
Rounding out the squad is Wendi “ALittleLady87” Fleming (BallHerAlert) and reserve alternates, Aaron “Arooks” Rookwood (Bucks Gaming), Mihad “FEAST” Feratovic (T-Wolves Gaming), and Brianna “icygrl” Novin (BallHerAlert).
The roster was selected through a rigorous two-day tryout held earlier this month. The process was overseen by a selection panel comprising Washington Mystics (WNBA) forward Aerial Powers, NBA 2K League community ambassador Graham Borden, Wizards District Gaming team manager Patrick Crossan, Jazz Gaming coach Jelani Mitchell, and USA Basketball Youth & Sport Development assistant director Andrea Travelstead.
USA Basketball is the world’s most successful international basketball program, best known for putting together the iconic 1992 Olympic Dream Team. This team, headlined by NBA legends Michael Jordan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and Larry Bird, was the first American Olympic basketball team to field active professional players from the NBA.
The creation of the 2020 USA E-National Team marks the organization’s first foray into esports. The team will face off against esports teams from Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, and Puerto Rico.
“USA Basketball is excited to take this first step in becoming a part of the gaming community and the FIBA Esports Open,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO.
FIBA Esports Open II is the second iteration of the global basketball association’s NBA 2K-based esports competition. Their first tournament was held in June and featured 17 national teams across five regional conferences.
The field of competition has expanded significantly in the tournament’s second season, growing to a total of 38 national teams distributed across seven conferences.
FIBA Esports Open II’s Africa, Middle East, and Southeast Asia/Oceania conferences were completed over the weekend, with Côte d’Ivoire (Africa), Saudi Arabia (Middle East), and Australia (SEA/Oceania) emerging as the champions of their respective conferences.
The Europe Conference is scheduled for December 12-13, while the North and Central America and South America Conferences will take place on December 19-20. All games will be streamed live on FIBA’s Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube channels.