Image via Youtube
2016 is almost over, and we here at The Meta are celebrating by paying tribute to the teams, players and vague concepts that made it worthwhile. Our MVP awards will be ongoing throughout the holiday season, so check in now and then to see who and what we decided to shower with praise.
Early in the list of high-profile esports investments was retired basketball player Rick Fox. Fox read the tea-leaves—or maybe the reported annual income for the industry—and decided that he needed to get into the pro gaming game by buying out Gravity Gaming’s LCS slot. Technically this happened last year, right at the end, but Echo Fox didn’t actually see the field until 2016, so I’m counting it.
Since then, several major basketball figures have decided to take a seat at the esports table and push their chips forward. Shaquille O’Neal came on as co-owner of NRG esports, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Apex and Dignitas, and Memphis Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the team that would become the Immortals. Basketball, of all things, has turned out to be one of esports’ greatest allies in 2016. Balls in your court, tennis.
Sure, the teams backed by big names in basketball haven’t done, uh, incredibly well so far, especially in the more established games like League of Legends and CS:GO. But hey, it’s nice to have a vote of confidence from the world of traditional sports! This year, the world of Basketball has dumped an enormous amount of money into esports, and that’s we’re happy to award Ol’ Hoops the title of Most Valuable sPort of the year.