Tim “oLARRY” Anselimo’s return to the NBA 2K League after surviving a mass shooting won ESPN’s ESPY award for “Best Esports Moment.”
The 26-year-old was shot three times in the chest and hand after a gunman opened fire at a Madden tournament held in Jacksonville, Florida, last August. Two professional Madden players, Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, were killed in the shooting.
oLARRY’s injuries left him in critical condition and required two surgeries on his right thumb. After months of rehabilitation, the NBA 2K League pro was forced to alter his controller grip because of injuries to his thumb—which had been detached from his hand—and middle finger.
Selected by Bucks Gaming in the second round of the inaugural NBA 2K League draft in 2018, the organization did not retain oLARRY following season one. In an expansion draft-day trade which saw him swapped for Brandon “Hood” Caicedo, oLARRY was selected by T-Wolves Gaming then shipped to Cavs Legion GC, where he made his return to the league at the Tipoff tournament this past April.
Splitting time at power forward and center in season two, the big man has averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 15 regular season games, with the Cavs currently in a tight playoff race.
The award was determined in a bracket-style tournament via fan voting. oLARRY took down the London Spitfire winning the inaugural Overwatch League championship in the round of 16, Cloud9 winning the CS:GO Boston major in the quarterfinals, Chiquita Evans becoming the first woman drafted to the NBA 2K League in the semifinals, and Ninja’s Fortnite win with Marshmello at the E3 ProAM in the final round.
The New York native garnered almost 140,000 votes in the final poll on July 9 after exhaustive campaigning from the NBA 2K community and league players and organizations, along with endorsements from figures like rapper Pusha T and NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
The final tally saw oLARRY take home a commanding 60% to 40% victory despite Ninja and Marshmello’s own campaigning for the award, with almost 6.4 million Twitter followers combined between the two.
My brother @oLARRY2K needs all the votes he can get to bring home this @ESPYS award in E-sports…reaching out to my twitter family to vote with me!! Click and vote here… https://t.co/SP2LLYAtmw
oLARRY and Evans’ entries were the only two NBA 2K League-related moment in the bracket. Voting took place on ESPN’s website and on ESPN Esports’ official Twitter account.
As part of the win, oLARRY was invited to the ESPYS on July 10 in Los Angeles.
IT HAPPENED! Watch @oLARRY2K’s acceptance of his @ESPYS award 🏆 https://t.co/7g6Vqswbh1
Finally settled after an emotional roller coaster of a day Thanks again to everyone that voted and shared the poll for me. Im still in awe over the support you guys have shown for me today. Spot, true and my angel grandmother who kept me alive in jax, this is for us.
An outpouring of support from the league followed the announcement of the win.
Lets go @oLARRY2K! Congratulations from everyone on the Celtics team! ☘️ https://t.co/6t0o5kghNe
A special message from @WesleyAcuff to @oLARRY2K ⤵️: https://t.co/dq7VAabKjL
“Tim defines strength and courage. To overcome what he endured in Jacksonville is remarkable and a reminder to us all that anything can be achieved with hard work and an unshakable self-confidence,” said Jonathan Sumers, Cavs senior director of esports, in a press release. “We are so proud of Tim, and we couldn’t be happier for him to bring home this award and become the first esports athlete in history to win an ESPY.”