The inaugural NBA 2K League All-Star Game will be held at Brooklyn Steel on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Twitch and YouTube. Below are storylines for the event:
BEHIND THE DISH: Before winning back-to-back championships with Wizards District Gaming in 2020 and 2021, Ryan “Dayfri” Conger was an accomplished baseball player. The 2021 All-Star began playing at fouryears old and earned a scholarship to play catcher at Letourneau University. After tearing his ACL, Conger picked up NBA 2K, and the rest is history.
SPLASHY’S YEAR: This Spring, Jazz Gaming’s dynamic point guard Kimanni “Splashy” Ingram reached the final round of the $250,000 NBA 2K21 MyTEAM Unlimited Tournament. After a strong regular season (27.3 points, 10.3 assists), Ingram is a finalist for MVP and led Jazz Gaming to the Finals, where the team earned $180,000 as the runner-up.
NEW YORK CITY TIES: Three players with connections to New York City will play in the 2021 All-Star Game. Brooklyn-native and 2021 MVP finalist Dhwan “Shiftykaii” White will represent T-Wolves Gaming on the Western Conference team. Joining White is Bronx-native Rafel “Crush” Davis from Kings Guard Gaming. Virtual big man Connor “Shotz” Rodrigues will represent Brooklyn’s own NBA 2K League team, NetsGC, on the Eastern Conference squad.
JOMAR’S JOURNEY: Drafted in the first-ever NBA 2K League Draft, Jomar “Jomar” Varela-Escapa had a remarkable journey to the NBA 2K League. Varela-Escapa was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and when Hurricane Maria left his home without power, he used his family’s diesel generator to play during the qualification windows for the league. In his second season with Pacers Gaming, the power forward averaged a double-double of 13.1 points and 10.9 rebounds. With his All-Star selection, Varela-Escapa goes down as the first international NBA 2K League All-Star in history.
JUST DEFENSE: A key component of Wizards District Gaming’s championship-level success is small forward Justin “Just_Awkward” Howell. The Union, N.J.-native played stellar defense throughout the regular season and playoffs. The second-year player has garnered strong consideration for NBA 2K League Defensive Player of the Year.
NO. 1 PICKS: 2021 NBA 2K League All-Star will feature two former No. 1 NBA 2K League Draft selections. With the No. 1 pick in the 2019 Draft, Jazz Gaming selected center Spencer “Ria” Wyman, who averaged 17.7 points and 13.3 rebounds in the 2021 Playoffs. John “JBM” Mascone, the top overall pick in 2020, helped lead Wizards District Gaming back to its second consecutive NBA 2K League championship by averaging 31.8 points and 12.5 assists in the 2021 Playoffs.
ALL-STAR WALNUT: The 2021 All-Star Game will feature 2018 NBA 2K League Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year Dayne “OneWildWalnut” Downey. In his first season with 76ers GC, Downey averaged 18.9 points and 10.7 rebounds. Prior to joining the NBA 2K League, he played college basketball at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, C.A.
INSTANT IMPACT: Rookie of the Year candidates Enrique “630” Xavier Barazza (Pacers Gaming) and
Craig “rigby” Burnett, Jr. (Hornets Venom GT) both made an immediate impact with their teams this season. Barazza led the league in scoring (34.7) and is a strong contender for the 2021 Most Valuable Player award. Burnett averaged 22.6 points and was named MVP of THE TURN Powered by AT&T tournament in July.
CLEVELAND ROCKS: Two All-Stars hailing from Cleveland, OH include veteran point guard for Grizz Gaming Zach “Vandi” Vandivier and T-Wolves center Malik “Slaughter” Leisinger. Vandivier led Grizz Gaming to its first playoff appearance in franchise history with averages of 25.2 points and 9.9 assists and Leisinger averaged a double-double of 15.4 points and 11.6 rebounds, leading the team tothe second-best record in the league.