Basketball pro Paul George Has Virtual GameNBA All-Star Paul George is on the cover of 2K Sports’ NBA 2K17 and he, along with his entire Olympic team, are featured in the game
NBA All-Star Paul George is on the cover of 2K Sports’ NBA 2K17, which is out now. The Indiana Pacers small forward had a much shorter summer break after helping Team USA to another gold medal at Rio 2016. George and his entire Olympic team are featured in the game.
Before heading to Rio, George was in Los Angeles – alongside NBA 2K17 Collector’s Edition cover athlete Kobe Bryant – to take in the championship game of the NBA 2K: Road to the Finals. 2K awarded $250,000 to the five-man video game team at the event, which was live-streamed to the world via Twitch. George took some time to talk about his own video game skills in this exclusive interview.
THE RED BULLETIN: What’s your favourite memory from playing NBA 2K growing up?
PAUL GEORGE: My favourite memory is probably when I got to create my own player. I used to go through the whole season with this created player. And now you fast forward where I’m actually on the game and I don’t have to create myself anymore. For me, it’s a personal milestone of how far I’ve come.
Where does being on the cover of NBA 2K17 fit in with everything you’ve accomplished so far?
That’s icing on the cake. As a kid when you think about wanting to be in the NBA and wanting to be the best, that comes with wanting to be a cover guy of 2K. It’s the biggest game for basketball. To be on the cover, there’s no words to really express how happy and how excited I am to be with this great franchise.
As someone who actually plays the game, what are your thoughts about how your player ratings have evolved in the video game over the years?
I’ve had to work my way up. My player ratings started out in the 70s, and I had to go through the 80s to where I’m now in the 90s. So next year let’s go for a 100, perfect score. I’m more than happy with how 2K has rated me. And as long as I make sure I’m doing what I’m doing on the court, I’ll be satisfied with my rating.
Can you give us a sense of how popular this game is among NBA players?
I think everyone is a gamer for the most part, especially in the NBA. A lot of guys love to compete outside of being on the court, so we get to play virtual versions of ourselves with different teams and different guys. It’s perfect in the summer for guys that are eliminated and the season is over; it’s our way of staying relevant with basketball.
What has online gameplay opened up for you to stay connected with teammates off season?
Not so much on my team. I’m probably the biggest 2K gamer. But every now and then I play with Ronnie (from 2K) and he’ll chime in and tell guys I’ll be on the park so there are fans that are looking forward to it. And that’s almost the best way that we can have a moment between fan and athlete of enjoying the game together, getting to compete against them or playing with them.
What are your thoughts on eSports – something that didn’t exist when you were a kid?
I think it’s amazing. Six years ago I might have been out there competing for that $250,000. That’s how big of a gamer I am and have been, so it sucks I can’t be in their position to play for it. It would have been a lot of fun, but I’m more than happy and satisfied with how far 2K has come.
What are your thoughts about the NBA 2K ProAm mode that lets anyone build their own player and then go in and compete as a custom team?
I think it’s awesome. It brings guys together. When you think about this competition (NBA 2K Road to the Finals), we have a team that never met before (in real life), but here they are and they won it all. They’ve been playing together since 2011, but they’ve never come in contact with each other on a personal level. That’s why 2K brings together so many people in this world. And to be able to call someone a friend that you’ve never met before is extremely awesome.
Shaq and Rick Fox actually own eSports teams. What are your thoughts about that evolution of what’s going on in professional video gaming?
I think it’s great. I might want to look into going that direction of owning my own team. I’m a huge gamer, so it only makes sense to go down that route.