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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Two Monarchs playing in NBA2K gamers league

By Tom Robinson

Two Old Dominion University alumni just started playing professional hoops, though they never shot baskets for the Monarchs.

Fred Mendoza '16 and Austin Painter '17 were among 102 gamers drafted into NBA2K League, a 17-team eSports league owned by the National Basketball Association.

Mendoza, who lives in Arlington, and Painter, who is from Luray, joined 72,000 eager players who auditioned beginning in January. They survived two rounds of qualifying games that showcased their ability to manipulate interactive basketball players at the game console.

Personal interviews then reduced the field to the 102 players who were drafted, six per team.

It isn't just eFun and games. The May-to-August season pays each gamer $32,000 plus benefits.

Painter, a second-round draft pick, is a power forward tagged "Boo Painter" in Washington, for Wizards District Gaming.

Mendoza, a fifth-round pick, plays point guard in Detroit for Pistons GT under his gamer name, "I'm So Far Ahead."

During the season, players live and practice in the cities where their teams are based. They fly weekly to the NBA2K New York studio for games and tournaments.

All games - which feature broadcasters, camera shots of the gamers in action and a live audience - stream on twitch.tv.

Highlights and other features can be found at 2kleague.nba.com.

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