An NBA TV announcer exuberantly proclaimed "What a time to be alive!" during an event that was televised live on Wednesday.
He wasn't lying.
The Utah Jazz and professional gaming squads from 16 other NBA teams took part in the inaugural NBA 2K draft from Madison Square Garden, selecting from a pool of 102 elite video athletes who'll participate in the first season of the fledgling esports league.
And with the third pick of the NBA 2K League, Jazz Gaming selected Shaka Browne from Mount Vernon, New York. The point guard goes by the player handle "Yeah I Compete."
"This feeling is indescribable," Browne said of being drafted. "I put all the hours in, playing this game for over a decade. I’m just taking it all in right now."
Browne, whose Twitter handle is @GFGCompete, won 80 percent of his games during the recent NBA 2K League Combine. Browne averaged 24.2 points, 13.7 assists and 3.5 steals. Jazz Gaming views him as a slashing playmaker and a high-performing playmaker who shoots well from mid-range and moves the ball well.
"We are thrilled to have Shaka join Jazz Gaming as our first pick," Jazz Gaming director of esports Josh Barney said. "He was our number one rated point guard in this draft. Shaka is very charismatic and a team-centric player, who we feel will be a great fit in our organization."
Jazz Gaming has five more selections in Wednesday's draft. All 17 teams will select one player from each position — point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center — along with one wildcard player.
The rest of the draft can be viewed live on Twitch.
The Dallas team — Mavs Gaming — took Artreyo "Dimez" Boyd with the No. 1 overall pick.
"I got chills from that," an excited James "Dirk" Diaz Ruiz said during the broadcast on NBA TV and Twitch.
NBA 2K players will reportedly earn up to $35,000 during their six-month season along with insurance, retirement, housing and moving expenses.
Jazz Gaming also picked center Malik Leisinger (No. 32 overall), forward DeMar Butler (No. 37), guard Delano Allsup (No. 66), forward Jaishon Scott (No. 71) and forward Michael Stam (No. 100). From the team’s press release:
— “MrSlaughter01” Leisinger (Center, @MrSlaughter01, Cleveland, Ohio) is a slashing rebounder that won 72 percent of his games during the combine. He pulled down 17.6 rebounds per contest, while also averaging 23.2 points and 1.5 blocks.
— “Deedz” Butler (Power Forward, @OGDeedz, Boston, Mass.) is a versatile power forward, who averaged 23.2 points, 6.4 assists and 14.2 rebounds per game. He is an efficient scorer and athletic finisher who excels at both the mental and physical aspects of the game.
— “Tifeworld” Allsup, Jr. (Small Guard, @Mr102ClubTife, Washington, D.C.) is a pure sharpshooter, who won 79 percent of his games and averaged 23.4 points, 4.8 assists and 1.9 steals per contest.
— “24k JSmoove” Scott (Small Forward, @24kJSmoov3, Dallas, Texas) is a shot-creating slasher and high-performing small forward who has 2K coaching experience. He shoots well from almost anywhere on the court and averaged 27.7 points, 4.1 assists and 2.8 steals during the combine.
— “Stambreezy” Stam (Power Forward, @stambreezy, Charlotte, N.C.) was one of the most efficient scoring power forwards in the combine, averaging 24.8 points per game, while grabbing 12.7 rebounds and dishing out 5.2 assists.
“We are excited with our selections and feel we drafted players that complement each other on their strengths,” Barney said. “We are bringing in personalities that our fans will really enjoy and can’t wait to get everyone here and start the season.”