Denial Esports has filled out its initial foray into the NBA 2K esports scene by fielding a Pro-Am team on Xbox.
The esports organization announced yesterday that it is sponsoring a PS4 team, led by Alex “ExposeHim” Whelan, to compete initially in amateur WR Pro-Am League tournaments. New Denial Chief Operating Officer Justin Jacobson indicated in an interview with DIMER that the organization is interested in breaching the NBA 2K esports scene, potentially en route to collaboration with an NBA 2K League franchise.
“We’re using it as an incubator to show that we know how to develop talent,” Jacobson told DIMER. Denial has its eyes on players to mold into NBA 2K League prospects. Skills on the court are important, but imparting knowledge of off-the-court conduct and countenance is an equal priority in Denial’s eyes.
Their top players are on the same page as the organization. Denial released its full roster, led by Dhwan “Kai” White and Kevin “Saver” Machin.
“The main goal is still to get into the NBA 2K League. This feels like a launchpad toward that,” White said. Denial will sponsor the team’s entry fees and will help its players stream and create content throughout the game cycle.
“This is a bigger opportunity to get our name out there,” Machin said. “For me, it’s about building my name, brand and viewership.”
Both players have an extensive history in the competitive NBA 2K Pro-Am scene. The team also features former Breakout Gaming star Josh “oSniper” Krawczyk, Andrew “East2Shift” Cole, Mark “BigRIM” Hayworth and Robert “LA SMA5H” Chavarin.
“They come very well recommended,” said Jacobson. “They’ve definitely made their own mark on the Pro-Am scene, becoming household names at this point.”
While winning is the primary goal, the team views its opportunity as a chance to create something larger within the NBA 2K scene. Gathering excitement around matchups is the important step, and trying to bring together as much of the community as possible is another priority. Winning, popularity and increased content all go hand-in-hand, and the team believes itself more than up to the challenge.
“We can be very entertaining and competitive in Pro-Am,” Machin said. “I think people like watching a dominant team, and we can provide that.”
“We want to be the team you circle on your calendar,” Jacobson said. “It’s important to do things to bring everyone together consistently.”
Building a community is no easy task, but Denial is starting small with its own team. The six Xbox players join the six PS4 players as Denial’s inaugural NBA 2K members, and perhaps the pioneer not only for Denial but for integration between NBA 2K esports and traditional esports organizations as a whole.
“Nobody had the chance to do this before,” White said. “We’re the first to do this, helping to build 2K and esports.”
Full Xbox roster: