I was speaking with Harris Rubenstein, the NBA 2K League’s resident stat guru as I was doing some research on my power rankings. I knew Pacers Gaming’s 630 was having a huge start to his rookie season, but when I asked Harris what he had for the dynamic guard’s per game scoring average and he said 34.8 points, my jaw dropped.
That’s a big number for any player, let alone a rookie in the league.
I’ve been checking up on 630 since Pacers Gaming took him No. 2 overall in the Season 4 draft, and there is something that sticks out to me when I see pictures and video of his face. The dude has a cold-blooded stare and his voice is as deep as a three-point shot from a pure sharp with takeover vibing to a Pop Smoke tune. 630 plays with extreme confidence and he is totally unafraid to pull it. More times than not, it seems as though he is finding the bottom of the virtual net.
Pacers Gaming is 8-2 this season, and while he’s on a team of mature veterans like Wolf, Jomar, Swizurk and Lavish Phenom, 630 is the biggest reason for the team’s success.
630 hails from Aurora, Illinois, where the common area code is 6-3-0, hence the name. From the moment I saw his name and learned the connection, I became a fan. I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, so Chicagoland products recognize and appreciate those who rise from the area.
Still, there was more than just a geographical draw there, so I dug a little deeper, and found perhaps a little more of the reason for this dude’s glow. The IndyStar’s Michael McCleary did a fantastic piece on 630 after he was drafted.
In reading it, I learned 630 (born Xavier Barraza) reached 6-foot-1 when he was in seventh grade. He transferred to Holy Angels in Aurora to further his basketball journey. He was expected to grow to 6-foot-6 according to doctors, but during the ninth grade, he was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease. It’s a condition that afflicts young people who have grown rapidly.
The disease stunts the growth and causes pain. It stopped 630’s dream of playing IRL hoops, which led to a deeper dive into NBA 2K’s competitive gaming scene.
I thought to myself, what a heavy weight for a young man to have to bear. It is hard to imagine having your dream snatched away from you so quickly.
Thank God for NBA 2K, as it not only satiated some of his hoop dreams, but provided the beginning of a livelihood. After being drafted No. 2 overall the expectations were high, but what’s that to a dude who has already overcome so much?
630 is a menace on the virtual court; Mature beyond his NBA 2K League experience and likely past his age (19) because of what he has already had to handle in real life. Hailing from Illinois aka The Illstate, this week’s nickname is The IllState Menace. 630 keeps taking out the impediments and exceeding expectations, and he might just be your Rookie of the Year and MVP when it is all said and done.
Brian Mazique is a life-long hoops junkie and a fan of the NBA 2K franchise since its inception in 1999. Professionally, he has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, and has covered sports and video games for the past 15 years for a variety of platforms, including Bleacher Report, Forbes, and Heavy.com. The views on this page are that of this writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA 2K League or its clubs.