New to Warriors Gaming Squad and the NBA 2K League? Read on to learn about the team, the league, and how it all works!
Here are 12 common questions and answers that people new to the 2K League might have. If you’re an NBA 2K or esports veteran, feel free to scroll down to some of the more in-depth questions and answers further down the page. If you’re newly installing NBA 2K, unsure about esports, or just heard about Warriors Gaming Squad for the first time, start at the top with…
1. Esports? eSports? E-Sports?
When used in a sentence, esports works just like any other word, but it’s really a capital idea. Esports, simply put, means video game competitions. Play a lot of Pac-Man at the arcade or some Mario Kart on your friend’s TV? Somewhere out there, it’s likely that the best players in the world at Pac-Man or Mario Kart—or whatever your favorite game is—are playing against each other… often for a lot of money. Sometimes it’s pretty structured, like the wide-ranging League of Legends esports competitions, and sometimes it’s for a lot of money, like the DOTA 2 world championships that feature six- or seven-figure prize pools.
2. Ok, that makes sense. But what does that have to do with the NBA?
A lot, actually! Whereas games like Mario Kart or League of Legends might have fictional characters, the NBA is at the heart of a popular video game produced by 2K. The NBA 2K video game series is really popular in North America and across the world, with over 110 million units sold worldwide. You can play by yourself against the computer, or compete individually against anyone in the world. You can even team up with your friends to mimic the 5-on-5 nature of the basketball you can find at any court.
3. Yeah, I beat my friend on 2K all the time. But what’s this league thing?
You and me both! But while we’re pretty good, the NBA 2K League is a compilation of the very best NBA 2K players in the entire world. These people aren’t just good from their couch—they’ve been playing 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 in competitive amateur leagues for years. They know all the game’s tricks, they never miss open shots, and they have the personality to do it in front of thousands of fans. They’re so good, in fact, that NBA teams want these players competing for them on their own esports teams, because there’s a lot of money on the line!
4. So what’s Warriors Gaming Squad? One of those league teams?
Exactly. Warriors Gaming Squad—WGS—is one of 25 teams in the NBA 2K League, and one of 22 teams owned by NBA franchises. WGS was one of the first 17 teams in the league when it started play in 2018. The team has five players who represent WGS and play 2K against other teams. Main rivals include Milwaukee’s Bucks Gaming, Minnesota’s T-Wolves Gaming, and Utah’s Jazz Gaming, against all of whom the team has played four Western Conference Finals since 2019.
5. The gamers can pick who they want to play as?
They can, but it might not be what you think. Each person controls one player—how they play, how they look, how they celebrate—throughout the course of a game (no subs!). For example, Charlie “CB13” Bostwick, who attends Fordham University in the offseason, competes for Warriors Gaming Squad for six months out of the year. CB13 isn’t choosing between current Golden State Warriors players: he’s playing as CB13. He plays point guard, but he could play center if he wants, because it’s a video game, and you can grow a foot and 100 pounds with the press of a button.
6. People only control one player? How does that work?
Because it’s a video game, CB13 changes the player he controls based on whatever position he wants to play that game. If the team has him play shooting guard, he chooses from one of five preset builds which determine his height, weight, and ability. In the game available to everyone, players can upgrade to the maximum 99 overall. In the special league version of the game, however, players can’t max out their builds, and there’s some give-and-take depending on the build (“archetype”) he chooses. He might pick an archetype that’s really good at shooting threes, which is great, but also means his defensive abilities will be limited. If he wants to be a great defender, chances are he won’t be able to shoot as well (for example).
Teams have to think about all the pros and cons when putting together their lineups, and those can change every game. That’s part of what makes every game a bit of a chess match—teams have to find the right combination of both people and in-game players to be successful.
7. How are teams formed?
It’s actually pretty cool. The league holds a draft before each season when teams select players to fill out the five-person roster. Like the NBA draft, there’s a draft lottery, draft-day trades, and draft day is always full of excitement. After each season, teams have the option to protect (before the expansion draft) or retain (after the expansion draft) a few players from the previous year’s roster. Most years, there’s an expansion draft, where new teams select from the pool of unprotected players. Players who go unretained—not brought back by their teams—are put back into the regular draft pool.
The regular draft pool also features the class of new prospects (18+). Players qualify for the draft pool by winning an offseason tournament held by a team or by the NBA 2K League, or earning a spot from their play throughout the “pre-draft” process.
8. How does the season work?
You can read a breakdown of the 2024 season structure here. As of 2022, the league has two different modes of competition. There’s the standard 5-on-5 mode, which resembles traditional basketball, and the 3-on-3 mode, which looks a little more like playing in the park. Both modes have two tournaments made up of round robin and bracket play. Teams compete in tournaments for prize money and earn standings points to qualify for the playoffs. There are separate playoffs and champions for 5-on-5 and 3-on-3. All of this is watchable online, either on the league’s Twitch or YouTube channels. Games happen from Wednesday to Saturday, with the season starting at the end of February, following a draft in January, and concluding the final weekend in June.
Oh, and one other thing. Amateur players—you, your friends, probably not me—can make it into those 3-on-3 tournaments and try to take down the pros for a part of the $2 million prize pool.
9. I think I’m getting it. Why should I cheer for WGS?
Great question. Well, as of 2023, we’re the best! WGS won the 2023 5v5 championship and has consistently been one of the league’s best teams, making the playoffs an unparalleled five consecutive seasons and winning more playoff games all-time than any other organization. As a result, the Golden State Warriors are the first organization to win a title across the NBA, NBA G League, and NBA 2K League. Team captain Charlie “CB13” Bostwick is one of the longest-tenured players in the league, having been drafted by the team 10th overall in 2019. It’s pretty rare for players to stay on one team for a long time. WGS is the first team to roster two former MVPs, with all-time league-leading scorer and Bay Area Nidal “Mama Im Dat Man” Nasser paired with 2023 All-Star Kenneth “Kenny Got Work” Hailey… not to mention 2023 DPOY and two-time champ Jeremy “Seese” Seese. You can see WGS’s all-time stats and records here. The team has had some notable players on previous rosters, too. In 2019, WGS drafted Chiquita “Quita” Evans, the first woman to compete in the NBA 2K League. During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the team had Matthew “Matty” Grant, a former Division I point guard known for his skill at any position in 2K.
10. There’s no way these players are actually better than me, though, right?
Well, you may be the exception … but it’s pretty likely. Most players qualify for the league by winning amateur 5-on-5 tournaments and going through a rigorous interview and NBA 2K League Combine process. There’s a lot of familiarity among the top players from time spent playing together and against one another. A lot of games might look like they have less movement than NBA games, but there are a lot of mind games at work, and no shortage of flashy dunks either. Most teams run what looks like a lot of pick-and-roll offense, but watch carefully—some teams throw in a wrinkle and movement on almost every play. Beyond that, these players have great instincts on when to reach for a steal, impeccable timing on tricky fadeaway jump shots, and uncanny passing vision.
11. How’s the team looking this year?
Not too shabby! In a league with a lot of turnover, WGS is running back the exact same starting five that went 21-5 en route to a title and also made the 3v3 playoffs in 2023. CB13, the franchise leader in many categories, is still at the helm, with 2023 Finals MVP—and league-leading scorer all-time—Mama Im Dat Man his running mate in the backcourt. The frontcourt is stacked, too, with Kenny Got Work and Seese leading the league’s best defenses in 2023. Nay, one of the league’s best rookies last season, still mans and the middle and looks to improve even more in his sophomore campaign. The team will live and play in the Bay Area during the 2024 season with aspirations of bringing home a second consecutive title.
12. I’m in. How can I follow along?
The league’s Twitch or YouTube channels are the places to go and watch. It’s also good to follow Warriors Gaming Squad on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch. Twitter’s where a lot of league discussion happens, from player trash talk to team content to look-ins at teams in Washington D.C. and across the country.