Lexington Welcomes First Major Esports Franchise as NBA 2K League Team Begins Its Second Season on May 19 and Quest for Championship
LOS ANGELES (May 11, 2021) Global esports organization Gen.G announced today that it is relocating its NBA 2K League franchise, the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, to facilities located at the University of Kentucky to compete virtually in its second season in the league and joining the new 12-team Eastern Conference.
Kicking off its 2021 NBA 2K League season with THE TIPOFF powered by AT&T on May 19-22 with a prize pool of $160,000, the team will practice and compete in the University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union Esports Lounge at The Cornerstone. The team will also have access to UK campus services including dining and the recreational center facilities across campus.
“We’ve forged an incredible global relationship with the University of Kentucky, so it’s only natural for our 2K League team to train and compete on the campus of the nation’s winningest college basketball program,” said by Chris Park, CEO of Gen.G. “UK is a vibrant community with state-of-the-art facilities, and our players are honored to be the first pro esports team in-residence at a major university.”
The team will have opportunities to interact with UK esports players and students as the esports community continues to grow on campus. Gen.G hopes to be able to make tickets available to watch live games in the Theater, if the public health situation allows for live attendance during the season.
“We are proud of our basketball heritage, so we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Gen.G.’s NBA 2K League team to our campus,” said Heath Price, Associate CIO at UK. “The team will play at the Cornerstone which has the best internet connectivity east of the Mississippi. They will have our full support.”
Led by Coach Lennon Ross, the Tigers have reloaded after its inaugural 6-10 season with a mix of returning and new players following the NBA 2K League Draft on March 13. The 2021 roster includes:
Chris “Turnupdefense” Anderson (@Turnupdefense) is in his 2nd season with the Tigers as a lockdown defender. He won an NBA 2K League championship with T-Wolves Gaming in 2019. Originally from Los Angeles, he now resides in Las Vegas when he’s not competing. Turnup is the only returning player from Gen.G’s 2020 roster.
Mihad “FEAST” Feratovic (@iFEAST__) joins the Tigers after spending last season with the 76ers GC and plays power forward. He was also one of the first two players in T-Wolves Gaming history. FEAST is originally from Brooklyn and also won a championship in 2019 with T-Wolves Gaming. FEAST is a two-time NBA 2K League Sportsmanship Award winner.
Alex “Bsmoove” Reese (@BsmooveJ) joins the team after the Tigers traded its #3 overall pick in the first round of the NBA 2K League Draft with his former team, the Warriors Gaming Squad. The shooting point guard brings a wealth of competitive experience. He is originally from Milwaukie, Oregon and enjoys playing and coaching basketball when he’s not competing in NBA 2K or Fortnite. Bsmoove is also a two-time tournament champion, winning both THE TURN and THE TICKET in 2019 with Warriors Gaming Squad. He was also named THE TICKET MVP in 2019.
Jordan “JMoney” Martinez (@JMoneyRep817) makes his debut with the Tigers this season after he was acquired from T-Wolves Gaming. The small forward averaged 18.2 points per game last season. JMoney is originally from Fort Worth, Texas. JMoney won a championship in 2019 with T-Wolves Gaming. A big difference this year will be he finally gets to play point guard, his natural position.
Donald “BumpyDon” Newsome (@BxmpyDon) is the 44th overall pick in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft. BumpyDon was widely considered one of the more promising PF prospects in this year’s draft. Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, BumpyDon was the first rookie selected for the Gen.G Tigers this year.
Kennedy “Sawc” Tauala, Jr. (@sawc4L) is the 47th overall pick in the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft. Sawc is widely considered one of the better characters from this year’s draft pool. He is a hybrid player that can fill numerous roles on a team, which fits perfectly with the current setup of this year’s roster. Sawc is born and raised from Long Beach, CA and also has graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Psychology.
In September 2019, the team became the 23rd franchise in the league and the first team not affiliated with a NBA team as part of a long-term strategic relationship to tap into Gen.G’s multinational brand across Asia and the U.S.
Established in 2017, Gen.G is the leading esports organization connecting the United States and Asia. Currently ranked no. 6 in the Forbes list of the “World’s Most Valuable Esports Companies,” Gen.G is the only major organization that owns and operates top teams in the world’s leading esports markets — China, South Korea and the United States. Its unique portfolio of teams, winners of seven global championships to date, includes the Seoul Dynasty franchise of the Overwatch League; 2014 and 2017 League of Legends world champion team in South Korea; the world’s top all-female Fortnite team, based in Los Angeles; and the NBA 2K League’s historic expansion franchise in Shanghai.
United under #TigerNation, Gen.G’s core mission is to help fans and athletes use the power of gaming and esports to get ahead in and beyond the competition. The company has quickly become a commercial and thought leader, building a global, inclusive and cross-cultural future for sports entertainment. Its widely acclaimed initiatives include: #TeamBumble, the leading team platform for the empowerment of women in gaming; and Gen.G Elite Esports Academy, the world’s first fully-integrated academic esports program. Gen.G’s teams, content creators and corporate staff work out of their offices in Los Angeles, Seoul and Shanghai. More information about Gen.G esports and its teams can be found at this link.
About the University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for” three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes’ list of “America’s Best Employers.” We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.
About the NBA 2K League
The NBA 2K League, a professional esports league co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO), launched in 2018 and features the best NBA 2K players in the world. Each of the league’s 23 teams features six players who compete as unique characters in 5-on-5 play against the other teams in a mix of regular-season games, tournaments and playoffs. NBA 2K League partners include Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Champion Athleticwear, Dash Radio, DoorDash, ESRevolution, Loco, Mondelēz International, Raynor Gaming, SAP, SCUF Gaming, Snickers, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sport1, Twitch, Wilson and YouTube. For more information about the NBA 2K League, visit NBA2KLeague.com.
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