NBA 2k

Blazer5 Gaming revamps, retools, & resets for championship run

Blazer5 Gaming revamps, retools, & resets for championship run

Over the first two seasons of the NBA 2K League, there has been no better team than Blazer5 Gaming. 

Portland's eSports team was 12-2 in Season 1, the best record in the league, and they repeated as the No.1 seed in Season 2 after posting a 14-2 record. 

However, all the regular-season success has failed to translate to the postseason, with Blazer5 being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs two seasons in a row. 

Now, with a revamped lineup, Blazer5 once again has its sights set on a championship. "Expectation is always a championship," said starting point guard Nidal “Mama Im Dat Man” Nasser. "I just feel like we have so much talent on our team, if we don't win a championship it's wasted, to be honest." 

But why did the regular season's best team stumble and fall in the postseason? Were they just not as good as we thought? Of course not, the ball just didn't bounce their way. However, Nasser says there may have been some other issues at hand. 

I feel like the last two seasons we've had so many obstacles, not even on the game, more off the game. Solving problems off the game that we just couldn't solve, or dealing with personalities that we couldn't deal with. Stuff like that, whatever the case may be, and I think that took a big toll once the season went on." Nidal Nasser on postseason struggles.

In an attempt to fix those minor personality and chemistry issues, Blazer5 made some major changes. The squad completely revamped its roster, building around its Big Three of  Mama Im Dat Man, Dayne "OneWildWalnut" Downey, and Andron "LavishPhenom" Thomas.

Added to that equation were Stanley "MaJes7ic" Lebron, Brandon “Hood” Caicedo, and Georgio “OOC Slim” Bonte - A trio of players that know how to score. 

Hood was the leading scorer in Season 1, averaging nearly 30 points per contest for Cavs Legion. MaJes7ic averaged 10.3 points last season while shooting 53.9% from the field. While OOC Slim dropped 11.1 points per contest in his rookie season with Raptors Gaming. 

Hood and MaJes7ic bring a nice wrinkle to the Blazer5 starting lineup. The two played together last season with Heat Check Gaming, and both are good friends with OneWildWalbut and Mama Im Dat Man. The relationship is something Nasser knows will benefit the team.

Majes7ic, I’ve known him countless years. That’s been a really close friend of mine, I consider him a brother. Same with Hood. So when we got those two guys we finally felt like this five is a group that not only that we can dominate with, but we can speak our mind to and that’s a huge thing that people don’t understand. If players are holding in their emotions during the game or in practice, you’re never gonna excel. You’re never gonna get to that next level. That was our downfall the last two years. - Nidal Nasser 

But don't sleep on OOC Slim. While he may not have the same relationship with the guys that Hood or MaJes7ic does, he is still a perfect addition to play the sixth-man role for the team. 

"Adding Slim… he knows what B5 is all about," said Nasser. "He’s adjusted seamlessly, giving us input day in and day out. I appreciate all those guys. We’re putting in the work this year and we’re gonna make it happen."

If Blazer5 does make it happen, they won't do it without a captain behind the wheel. 

For the past two seasons, Blazer5 didn't have a true head coach. Instead, the six guys just relied on each other to get the job done. While it had success, it still felt like something was missing. 

Enter Andrew Maxie. Back in January, Blazer5 announced the hiring of the first coach in team history. Maxie, a former college basketball player who won MAC Conference MVP at Eastfield College and NAIA All-American at Lindenwood-Belleville University, gives the team someone to rely on to make those key crunch time decisions. 

"I wasn’t fond of a coach Season 1 and Season 2, I felt like I could take that load. That’s just the person I am, I wanna lead from the front," said Nasser. 

But having a true coach allows Nasser to focus on his game, while Maxie worries about the Xs and Os. 

When we got Andrew (Maxie), he’s been a big help. We’re talking advanced stats. We’re talking scouting. In the Lakers game he put out a gameplan knowing what they like to do in shot clock situations, what they like to do when he goes left and right… Majes7ic was just telling me that one of the big stops, key stops in the game around the fourth quarter, he had Andrew in his head when he was reading the script. This is what he does. Right when he made the move, he plucked him and took it for two… Stuff like that. Priceless. - Nidal Nasser on the hiring of Andrew Maxie 

Early in Season 3, the new additions have already looked like game-changers. Blazer5 is 2-0 and hasn't even worked out all the kinks yet. 

Once they do, the league will certainly take notice... or maybe they would be wise to just start paying attention now. 

Blazer5 returns to action on May 20 when they take on Knicks Gaming. 

You can catch all the action on the NBA 2K League's Twitch and YouTube channels.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Fry and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon. 

Not everyone can be like Blazer5's Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser

Not everyone can be like Blazer5's Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser

February 9th, 2017 is a very important date for fans of the NBA 2K franchise. That was the day it was announced that the popular sports video would be featured in a new professional eSports league. 

One year later, 17 teams, each one associated with an NBA franchise, would start the inaugural NBA 2K League season.

One of those founding members was the Portland Trail Blazers owned squad, Blazer5 Gaming. 

During the very first league draft, Blazer5 Gaming used the 29th overall pick to select Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser to run the point on the virtual hardwood. Two seasons later, Mama Im Dat Man was named NBA 2K League Most Valuable Player. 

He may have earned MVP honors after just two seasons in the league, but the road to get there actually began a decade earlier. 

"I started playing video games probably when I was eight or nine. I started on the PS2 and all I would play was Madden and Call of Duty. I would play those things day and night. I wouldn't care. That's what I played," said Nasser. 

While those two tried and true titles were the go-to for Nasser, one special game made him make the transition to the virtual hardwood.

"It got to a point when 2K10 came out, I believe Kobe was on the cover, when I made that transition to 2k. I was always in love with basketball, played my whole life, so that is what I fell in love with."

This story to this point sounds relatable. Many of us, myself included, have spent many hours in front of the TV with a console controller in our hands. Whether it was the PS2 like Nasser, or the Super Nintendo like myself, we all remember our first experience with video games. 

But, while millions of people play video games for fun, only a select few are good enough to say they play them professionally. Nasser is one of them.

When I started playing, I was just playing casually, just having a good time. Then I started playing with my friends. When I started playing with my friends, I used to beat them by 20, 30, and 40, it got to the point where they would look at me like, 'Bro, are you being serious right now? This is crazy. You're much better than everybody else and it's not even close.' So I used to play small money matches for $10 here, $15, $20, versus people at my school or just people that I knew would want to play me because they knew I was good. So that's where it kicked off. As the years passed, I played more and more competitively and it got to this point. - Nidal Nasser on his road to the 2K League

Here's the thing, as with any sport, there is always someone who thinks they can do it too. We all know that one person who thinks if they got 15 minutes a night they could average 10 points and hit threes with ease in the NBA. That one person who thinks they could thow a 99mph fastball and get a few base hits in MLB. That one person who watches an NFL player drop a pass and says out loud, "put me out there, I would have caught that!"

Well, no. No, you can't. Even the worst professional athlete is leaps and bounds above the average Joe, but that won't silence the naysayers. 

eSports are no different. 

Millions of people play these video games online, and a lot of them think they should be on top of the mountain. They question why Player A was able to make it in the league while they sit at home.

"I see it a lot," said Nasser. "People be like, 'Oh, why is he in there? I should be in there. The league is a fluke. He's only in there because he knows people. He has connections,' all the good stuff."

Even Nasser, the reigning MVP, heard it a time or two on his way up. "I'm not gonna lie. In the beginning... I saw it a lot towards me. Now, in general, now that I've won MVP and I've kinda established myself, I don't really get that anymore. Almost never..." 

Nasser's skills have more than done the talking for him, but he still has something to say to those that try to bring him or anyone else in the league down:

My thing to them is that there's so many outlets for you to get your name out there. There's so many outlets for you to perform and show who you are. And people don't want to take the time out of their day to do it. It's just like any other job. You have to put the hours in. You're not just gonna come in and be like, 'Oh, I'm here. Now I'm gonna get drafted because..." and make B.S. excuses. Are you gonna do that for a real job? No. So why would you do it for the NBA 2K League, which is kind of like a blessing, to be honest. You're playing video games for money! So, you gotta put that extra work in. - Nidal Nasser

Those people that believe they should have a spot in the league could have their chance sooner, rather than later. The NBA 2K league started with just 17 teams, but entered Season 3 with 23. One of those teams is the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, the only team not affiliated with an NBA team. This means that as the league expands they could have more than just the 30 NBA team affiliates. 

The league could continue to expand in the future, and Nasser sees it having a global impact. 

"I hope it blows up, I really do," said Nasser. "The fact that we've gotten up to this point, I didn't even believe, and now my expectations are out the roof... I feel like we can only get better. I feel like the broadcast can get better. I feel like when trash-talking really is implemented when we go back to the stage, I feel like that's when people are really gonna dive into it."

If you do decide to dive into this league, you will realize it's more than just a video game. It's entertainment. Just like you watch your favorite reality TV show because of the personalities, or you watch your favorite movies because you fall in love with certain characters, you do the same with eSports. 

Some people have that thought process of, 'It's just video games. I can't get into it.' But then they're going to watch a drama series that is completely scripted. Just give it a shot. If you give it a shot you might like it. You might like a personality like me, like Walnut, like Brandon, doesn't matter who it is. Once you fall in love with somebody, once you just like their personality and just enjoy watching them, you're gonna tune back in. - Nidal Nasser on the NBA 2K League

Nasser has built off of last season's MVP season, averaging 30 points per game this season and leading Blazer5 to an undefeated record. Can they remain undefeated? You can find out for yourself next Wednesday when Blazer5 Gaming returns to the virtual court to take on Knicks Gaming. 

If you haven't seen Mama Im Dat Man do his thing, now is the perfect time to take the dive and see the entertaining league for yourself. 

You can catch all the action on the NBA 2K League's Twitch and YouTube channels.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Fry and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon. 

Who you got? Here are the Players Only NBA 2K Tournament odds

Who you got? Here are the Players Only NBA 2K Tournament odds

Get ready to watch some of your favorite NBA stars in action!

With the NBA hiatus going on three weeks now, fans will get a chance to watch virtual basketball with NBA players competing against each other while playing the video game, NBA 2K.

The tournament will feature 16 of the NBA's best 2K players with Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, DeMarcus Cousins, and Andre Drummond some of the featured names.

Trail Blazers starting center Hassan Whiteside will represent Portland in the first-ever 2K Players Only Tournament. 

And you can bet there are already odds out there with the tournament tipping off Friday.

Tuesday evening, SportsBetting.ag set odds for the 16-team tournament.

Devin Booker is the favorite, while Kevin Durant is right behind him, according to SportsBetting.ag. Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks announced Wednesday, that Durant has been cleared of coronavirus after testing positive a couple of weeks ago. 

As for Whiteside, he comes in sixth on the odds-on favorite list, but he is the No. 3 seed in the tournament with a 2K rating of 87.

NBA 2K Players Tournament SportsBetting.Ag Odds

Devin Booker        +350  

Kevin Durant        +400    
Deandre Ayton     +600    
Trae Young            +800    
Donovan Mitchell  +900    

Hassan Whiteside  +1000    
Rui Hachimura        +1200    
Andre Drummond   +1600    
Pat Beverley             +1600    

Demarcus Cousins    +1800    
Zach Lavine                +1800    
Harrison Barnes         +2000    
Michael Porter Jr.        +2000    
Montrezl Harrell         +2000    
Derrick Jones Jr.         +2200    
Domantas Sabonis    +2250    

Not only can bets be placed on players, there will also be a handful of prop bets, including which conference will have more players advance to Round 2 and whether or not any games will go to overtime.
You can check out the updated odds right here.

The tournament will air on ESPN this weekend. 

Hassan Whiteside to play in NBA 2k players only tournament

Hassan Whiteside to play in NBA 2k players only tournament

It was announced late Monday that the NBA would be partnering with 2k Sports to hold a special players-only NBA 2k Tournament

Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, DeMarcus Cousins, and Andre Drummond were the first names announced, but we had no idea who the other 12 would be. 

Here in Rip City, speculation started that Hassan Whiteside could be among the entrants. 

Those with an eye on social media may have noticed what Whiteside said about the tournament on Instagram.

Still, nothing was official... until now.

The Boardroom announced the full list or participants on Tuesday, confirming our suspicions - Whiteside is in!

As the No.3 three seed, the Blazers center will have a first-round matchup against No.14 Pat Beverley.

It's well-known in the Blazers locker room that Whiteside is a big fan of NBA 2k. In fact, he often boasts about beating Gary Trent Jr.

Whiteside knows 2k so well, that he even imitates it in real life.

View this post on Instagram

That LAG spike🥴😂 #nba2k

A post shared by Hassan Whiteside (@hassanwhiteside) on

Other entrants include Derrick Jones Jr., Trae Young, Harrison Barnes, Rui Hachimura, Devin Booker, Michael Porter Jr., Zach Lavine, DeAndre Ayton, Montrezl Harrell, and Domantas Sabonis.

The tournament will air on ESPN, but the details of the event are still being finalized. 

NBA to hold players only NBA 2k tournament

NBA to hold players only NBA 2k tournament

The NBA has found a way to bring basketball back to fans, thanks to NBA 2k. 

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the NBA and 2k Sports will partner to hold a players-only NBA 2k tournament.

The tournament will feature 16 of the NBA's best 2k players with Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, DeMarcus Cousins, and Andre Drummond some of the featured names. 

Will the Blazers have a representative? 

While his participation hasn't been officially announced, those with a keen eye may have noticed what Whiteside said about the tournament on Instagram.

It's well-known in the locker room that Whiteside is a big fan of NBA 2k. In fact, he often boasts about beating Gary Trent Jr.

Whiteside knows 2k so well, that he even imitates it in real life.

View this post on Instagram

That LAG spike🥴😂 #nba2k

A post shared by Hassan Whiteside (@hassanwhiteside) on

Regardless of who plays in this tournament, it's a great way to give fans a little bit of basketball action with some of their favorite players behind the controller. 

The tournament will air on ESPN, but according to the report, the details of the event are still being finalized. 

 

Blazer5 Gaming looks to redeem early playoff loss in 2018

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NBA 2K League

Blazer5 Gaming looks to redeem early playoff loss in 2018

It’s Blazer5 game day! 

Blazer5 Gaming, the official e-sports team of the Portland Trail Blazers, is heading to the NBA 2K playoffs with one goal in mind: redeem their early playoff exit in 2018 and take home the coveted championship trophy. 

Following a loss to the T-Wolves Gaming in their regular-season finale, Blazer5 still managed to finish the season with 14-straight wins and the league’s best season record for the second-straight year. 

Heading into Wednesday’s playoffs, they’ll be one of two teams, including 76ers GC, to make a return to the postseason, but there’s no denying they’ll have some stiff competition. 

Here's a look at what you need to know about the first round of the playoffs, which begins on Wednesday: 

Betting odds 

Blazer5 is currently listed as a -500 favorite against Warriors Gaming Squad at +323, according to Sports Gamers World. 

Schedule for Day 1 

Blazer5 gaming will open up the playoffs with a three-game series against Warriors Gaming Squad, who will make their first appearance in the postseason at 2:00 p.m. PT.

They will reconvene and play Warriors Gaming Squad at 4:00 p.m. PT and if necessary, again at 6:00 p.m. PT. 

Top players

Mama Im Dat Man is coming off a game-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting with 10 assists in Blazer5’s loss to T-Wolves Gaming. He’s averaging 23.1 points per game to go along with 11.6 assists per game and will likely lead the way for Blazer5. He has been named a finalist for NBA 2K League Most Valuable Player for a second-consecutive season. 

Center OneWildWalnut, last year’s MVP, is also coming off a 12 points, 9 rebound performance. He averages 15.9 points per game and 12.6 assists per game.

BSmoove leads Warriors Gaming in scoring with 15.8 points and 4.1 assists with 26 starts. Type adds 12.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. 

History

Warriors Gaming and Blazer5 Gaming met once in Week 2. Blazer5 Gaming came away with the 64-53 victory behind stellar performances from Mama Im Dat Man, OneWildWalnut and LavishPhenom, who combined for 45 points. 

What to know 

The NBA 2K League Playoffs officially begin today, July 24. The games take place in New York City and the championship winners will walk away with more than just bragging rights. How about a prize pool of $720,000? Not bad for the league's second-season championship winner. 

Blazer5 Gaming sets roster for Season 2

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USA TODAY

Blazer5 Gaming sets roster for Season 2

Season 2 of the NBA 2K League is upon us, kicking off with a giant draft night event at Brooklyn's Barclays Centers on Wednesday. For those of you that don't remember, the Blazers 2K team, known as Blazer5 Gaming, was one of the best teams in the league last season. 

Blazer5 made it to the finals of The Tipoff tournament to kick off the season, but fell just short of winning. However, they bounced back later in the year winning The Turn championship and continued a run of dominance that netted them the No.1 overall seed in the playoffs.

With league MVP Dayne Downey (OneWildWalnut) and team captain Nidal Nasser (Mama Im Dat Man) running the show Blazer5 looked to bring home the inaugural league championship. However, Knicks Gaming pulled off the biggest upset in the history of the young league when they knocked out the No.1 seed in the first round of the playoffs. 

But that was last season. This is now. Three players from last season's roster were retained by Blazer5: OneWildWalnut, Mama Im Dat Man, and Andron Thomas (Lavish_Phenom). Added to that trio this offseason was Matthew Hofmann (KinG PeroXide) via an early October trade with Bucks Gaming. 

In Wednesday's draft, the team added two more pieces to fill out its roster: one league rookie and one familiar face. Blazer5 used the 36th pick in the draft to select David Urena (Too Cool), a talented power forward. They later used the 71st pick to select Jomar Varela-Escapa (Jomar12_PR).  If Jomar12_PR sounds familiar, it's because he was a member of Blazers5 gaming last season.  He was not retained at seasons end, thus re-entered the draft pool. 

Tool Cool will likely fill the void of the departed Connor Rodrigues (Dat Boy Shots), who was selected by Hawks Talon GC with the first pick in the expansion draft in September. Too Cool has big shoes to fill. Dat Boy Shots was a key contributor for Blazer5 last season, averaging 19.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game. 

Last year's starting shooting guard Grant Barker (GRANT MONSTER) was not retained at season's end and was selected by Mavs Gaming in the draft. His starting role will likely go to the newly acquired KinG PeroXide. King PeroXide averaged 13.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists last season; a 6.6ppg, 2.5rpg, and 2.1apg improvement over GRANT MONSTER. 

With Tool Cool and KinG PeroXide added to a solid group of Blazer5 vets, the squad hopes to bounce back from last year's disappointing showing in the playoffs and build off the success of the inaugural season. Can Blazer5 bring home a championship? We will find out when Season 2 tips off on April 2. 

Blazers backcourt looks strong in official 2k rankings 

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USA Today

Blazers backcourt looks strong in official 2k rankings 

NBA 2K19 hits store shelves on September 11, but fans got an early taste of what’s to come thanks to Twitter.

The fine folks at 2K held a special release party on Wednesday night and social media started blowing up with updates from the event.

NBA YouTuber Mike Korzemba tweeted out a short video that showed the starting lineups for every NBA team, player rankings included.

The Blazers starting lineup on NBA 2k19 is Lillard, McCollum, Turner, Aminu, and Nurkic. Lillard leads the way coming in as a 90 overall, making him the fourth highest rated point guard in the game.

His backcourt running mate CJ McCollum is rated 87 overall, making him the fifth best shooting guard in the game. According to the 2K ratings the Blazers have the third best backcourt in the game. Only Golden State (Curry-95, Thompson-89) and Houston (Paul-90, Harden-96) rank better.

Another interesting nugget is the 79 overall rating of Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic is the 17th best center in the game according to the rankings and has the same overall rating as Brook Lopez, DeAndre Ayton, Pau Gasol, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Enes Kanter.

The starting lineups weren’t the only news to come out of the release party. We also got a screenshot of the All-Time Blazers Team, and this year's edition will feature Brandon Roy! Due to licensing issues, Roy has not been featured in a 2k game since he retired from the league. He now makes his return, joining Lillard, Clyde Drexler, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Bill Walton in the Blazers All-Time starting five.

 

 

NBA 2k19 comes out on September 11, but you can get the game on September 7 if you pre-order it.

Blazer5 Gaming kicks off inaugural season

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Blazer5 Gaming

Blazer5 Gaming kicks off inaugural season

It's time, gaming fans-- It's the debut of the Blazer5 Gaming squad!

It's day three of the inaugural NBA 2k League Tipoff Tournament, and that means it's Group C's time to take the stage. Blazer5 Gaming will play three times on Thursday, Group D will play Thursday as well.  The Top 8 teams will battle it out for a chance at $100k. 

The Blazer5 Gaming schedule for Thursday is as follows:

Game 1 - vs. 76ers GC, 1:00 PM

Game 2 - vs. Magic Gaming, 3:00 PM

Game 3 - vs. Raptors Uprising GC, 4:00 PM

All three games can be streamed live here, or at Twitch.tv/nba2kleague

***UPDATE: Blazer5 Gaming goes 3-0 on Thursday and now heads into the weekend play for a chance at $100,000.

Watch live video from NBA2KLeague on www.twitch.tv