UPDATE: This article originally stated that all APAC tourney winners, as well as selected players, will be added to the draft pool. Only selected players will join the draft pool.
The NBA 2K League will host the Asia/Pacific (APAC) Invitational tournament in Hong Kong on February 2–3.
The tournament will take place on NBA 2K18, on the modified NBA 2K League season one game build. Players will compete in games on Saturday and have the chance to talk to NBA 2K League scouts before competing in a tournament on Sunday. Pending further details, it seems as if the league emailed specific players in the Asia/Pacific region with an invite to the tournament. It is unclear as to the criteria used to select these players. Only several players from Australia, which has a small but active competitive ProAm scene, have so far been confirmed as to have received emails. The league will cover the cost of travel and lodging for all invited players.
UPDATE: Only selected players from the tournament will qualify for the draft pool, not the winners and selected players as originally indicated (see below).
Multiple people expressed hope that NBA 2K League analyst Jamie “Dirk” Diaz Ruiz would travel to Hong Kong to commentate the tournament, pending his personal passport issues (Ruiz will become a US citizen on January 24). Co-commentator Scott Cole will not make the trip, as he will be commentating at an EA Sports Madden event at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
The league originally announced the tournament on the NBA 2K League: The Post Up show, the league’s bi-weekly flagship show on Twitch. The description read:
The NBA 2K League will host a pre-draft, invitational tournament consisting only of players from Asia-Pacific. Top players from the region, as determined by the NBA 2K League Combine or their historical performance, will be invited to compete in an in-person tournament, and the winners will automatically become eligible for the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft. The winners who become draft-eligible will be in addition to the players identified through the Qualifier and Combine. Additional details about the tournament will be announced at a later date.
The final draft pool will exceed the number of open slots. It figures to comprise 150 new players, 49 unretained players, and however many players—5 or more seems most likely—qualify from the APAC tournament.
NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue has visited Singapore and Beijing to talk about the NBA 2K League. The league and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver have reiterated that international expansion for the league is a matter of when, not if, though they want all 30 NBA teams in the league before progressing overseas.
The league figures to be more active internationally this season. Wizards District Gaming is slated to travel to England alongside their parent NBA organization late in January, where the league will host an episode of The Post Up. Magic Gaming has a partnership with AS Monaco’s esports team. Several NBA 2K League teams have discussed foreign friendlies with European NBA 2K teams such as Bayern Munich’s Bayern Ballers.