Following an exciting weekend of international competition, the 2020 FIBA Esports Open has come to an end. With countries from across the world participating, it was interesting to see such a diverse group of players involved, and I think it’s a very good sign for the future of NBA 2K esports globally that so many countries wished to be a part of this competition. Hopefully we’ll see FIBA host more 2K tournaments in future, and we’ll see even more of the world’s best players in action, and it’s exciting to imagine how the global 2K scene will expand as a result.
In a very competitive Europe conference, Italy came out on top, surprising many by going unbeaten with an 8-0 record and beating out the Spanish side many considered to be guaranteed winners. While Spain came second in the standings, they had the highest point differential out of all 17 countries, and no doubt their talented team will collectively have a chip on its shoulder when the next tournament rolls around. Outside of the top two, I was very impressed by the performances of some of the other teams, and I think it’s a very good sign that there were so many talented teams competing in Europe.
While there was a considerable difference in the quality of the top six European teams in comparison to the bottom three, and some games were not particularly competitive, I believe the standard would be very high if countries such as Germany, France, Turkey, and the United Kingdom—all with a notable Pro-Am scene—were involved in future tournaments.
A certain lack of competitiveness could also be seen across the other conferences in the tournament. In the South-East Asia Conference, the Philippines dominated Indonesia, winning the series with a 5-0 sweep. Their roster consisted of players from the well-known Playbook Esports team, many of which previously competed in at least one NBA 2K League Asia-Pacific (APAC) Invitational. Similarly, Saudi Arabia beat Lebanon to win the Middle East Conference, and while there was a considerable difference in the ability of both teams, it was my first time ever watching players from those countries compete in Pro-Am, which shows just how much 2K has expanded worldwide as an esport.
While both of these series were not necessarily even contests, the Oceania Conference series between Australia and New Zealand was a different story. Australia won comfortably 4-1 in the end, but the standard of play was significantly higher and there was a far more competitive atmosphere. Both rosters featured players who once again had competed in the NBA 2K League APAC Invitational, and I really enjoyed watching the battles between the two sides. LAN tournaments are unlikely to happen any time soon, but I’d love to see either of these two teams be able to compete with some of the teams in Europe and beyond.
Moving onto a different continent, Argentina finished atop the South America Conference, beating Brazil 4-1 in what was a closely-contested series. The point differential for both sides stood at just 27 points at the end of the tournament, and I found it interesting to see players from both countries push themselves and compete on a global stage. I posted a breakdown of game on Twitter and also posted many other game breakdowns over the weekend which you can read here.
Overall, I thought it was a very fun weekend for 2K fans globally. While a FIBA Esports World Cup may not be possible just yet, I think FIBA’s involvement will certainly help the competitive scene to grow worldwide and reach its potential. Hopefully we get to see another international tournament soon!