Just like us, the NBA can’t seem to get enough of that esports. After a number of prominent basketball figures such as Shaquille O’Neal and Rick Fox started investing in competitive gaming, it seems that NBA teams are now taking the plunge too. First it was the Philadelphia 76ers; now, the Miami Heat has announced their partnership with Misfits. In light of this trend, and the future partnerships that are sure to follow, The Meta humbly offers our services as matchmaker. Here are a few NBA and esports organizations we think are a perfect fit.
Team SoloMid x LA Lakers
Some franchises, because of their popularity and star power, have an appeal that can be felt in every corner of a sport. Go to any live League of Legends game, even one where TSM isn’t playing, and you’ll see the black-and-white labyrinthine logo of the team all over the arena. The same is true of the LA Lakers, who have defied their geographical limits and sport fans from Topeka to Alaska. And there’s the all-star factor to consider, too—TSM has Bjergsen, which is as close to a Magic Johnson as North American League of Legends is going to get.
Ad Finem x Atlanta Hawks
Nobody expected Ad Finem, the underdog team from Greece, to make it all the way to the finals of the Boston Major this year, but that’s exactly what they did. The closest NBA team with a miracle run like that must have been the Atlanta Hawks, who came out of nowhere to play their best season on record in 2015. That said, they promptly collapsed in on themselves and sold off all their best players, so, uh, they could use some hot new talent like Ad Finem!
Cloud9 x Oklahoma City Thunder
Save for a few shining moments of brilliance, Cloud9 has always been good, but never quite the best. This is true for the variety of esports they compete in: they’re one of the best CS:GO teams in North America, but keep hitting the European wall at the international level. In League of Legends, they almost always finish near the top of their regional splits, but can’t seem to nab first place. Hell, even their Smash player, Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, is one of the five gods of the game—but it would be a stretch to name him as the very best. That’s why Oklahoma City Thunder is the best match for Cloud9; they’ve always been in the playoffs the last few years, but can’t seem to get past Golden State or San Antonio. Both Cloud9 and OKC have great teams, with some phenomenal talents, but it’s never been quite enough.
Optic Gaming x Sacramento Kings
While both Optic Gaming and the Sacramento Kings have a history of bringing on talented players with issues around trash talking, there are a few big differences. While the Sacramento Kings field great players, they have a hard time winning games; Optic Gaming, on the other hand, have some of the most successful teams in their esports of choice. The Sacramento Kings are certainly the elder organization, but Optic seems to have the older soul; most of its most hotheaded players are now reformed, like Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag. Maybe a partnership between the two would teach the Kings how to better manage their anger. Namaste.
SK Telecom x San Antonio Spurs
SK Telecom and the San Antonio Spurs carry themselves the same way. No bragging. No attitude. No ego. Just brilliant playing, and a quiet certainty that you are among, if not the, best team in the world.