If Lakers Gaming is looking to turn their NBA 2K League team into the video-game version of Showtime, they’ve got the perfect candidate sitting in their backyard.
When the NBA 2K League announced that the Los Angeles Lakers, along with three other NBA franchises, were to join the league for 2019 season, speculation arose immediately about who might secure coveted jobs with the new teams. As for the Lakers’ job, however, there was a strong consensus among players, team personnel, and fans: “it’s LD2K’s job if he wants it,” cried the chorus.
Known as LD2K, Chris Manning is a lifelong Lakers fan, a social media star, and a former 2K employee. He co-founded the popular Lakers blog site Lakers Nation and has developed content with star athletes such as—who else?—Kobe Bryant. More recently, Manning produced several YouTube videos in a “LAvengers” series, several of which received over 120,000 views.
The Lakers posted an opening for an “eSports Operations Manager” position expressly designed to work with their new NBA 2K League team. Any social media comment about the job posting invariably has received a reply or two tagging Manning.
It’s easy to see why. With Lakers Nation and his online presence, the man SB Nation called the “godfather of Lakers hype videos” has shown that he’s capable of building a devoted following. He’s committed to the Lakers and he knows 2K.
Manning has applied for the job, not because he was expected to do so but because he truly wants it. The online support, he said “means a lot to me, more than people know.” He’s been watching the league this season and was thrilled when the league announced that the Lakers would be joining.
The Lakers understand that their esports venture is a unique way to develop their brand in a rapidly emerging—and lucrative—industry. Their job summary included:
This position will be instrumental in overseeing the programming, designing, planning, and execution of the business operations to generate a resilient marketing presence, a strong fan base, and new business revenue.
(You can read the full application summary here.)
It’s pretty obvious that Manning is able to produce all of the above. The former NBA 2K Community and Marketing Manager, Manning was instrumental in developing the NBA 2K brand. He’s already a known figure for the Lakers fanbase and will be able to legitimize their esports squad in a way that no one else can.
Here’s what the Lakers specified as their key performance metric evaluators for the job:
Digital Sponsorship DollarsDigital Viewership
Digital Reach & Engagement Numbers
Again, Manning is clearly well suited for all of those. His connections with star athletes and Lakers greats alongside with his over 295,000 Twitter followers provides an unparalleled resource for the Lakers. Compare it to the Knicks’ hire of popular actor Jerry Ferrara as head scout and public face, which helped Knicks Gaming take home the first-ever NBA 2K League championship. Few people have such deep-seated commitments to their team and even fewer have the combination of digital reach and 2K knowledge that Ferrara and Manning do.
LD2K checks all the boxes and more. The expansion draft, the first step toward the Lakers’ first season in the NBA 2K League, will take place on September 24th. The Lakers have back-to-back picks (#4 and #5). They’ll pick tenth in the NBA 2K League entry draft in early 2019.
It’s time to bring in the perfect candidate, who has been sitting in Staples Center’s backyard all along.