Ever since the NBA was shut down on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a bunch of players, including Gobert’s Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell (who tested positive shortly after Gobert), have spent a good deal of their free time playing video games.
As announced Tuesday afternoon, the NBA is going to stage a players-only NBA 2K tournament on XBox One to air on ESPN and ESPN2 starting Friday, and Mitchell will be one of 16 participants. The tournament champion will select a charity to be the beneficiary of a $100,000 donation in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.
Yahoo’s Chris Haynes first reported Monday night that the tournament was in the works.
Mitchell is the No. 4 seed in the tournament, with seeds determined through a combination of NBA 2K player rating and tenure in the league. His first-round opponent will be Washington Wizards rookie forward Rui Hachimura, the No. 13 seed.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant is the No. 1 seed and will face No. 16 Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat in the first round.
The Boardroom, Durant’s business venture, first revealed the bracket on Twitter Tuesday morning, and a short time later, Mitchell quote tweeted The Boardroom’s tweet, writing, “Let’s get it!!! @NBA2K”
It is not clear at this point exactly when Mitchell and Hachimura will square off, but Durant and Jones Jr. will open the tournament on Friday at 5:30 p.m. MT, with the other first-round matchups following.
The first two rounds will be single elimination, and the semifinals and finals will be best-of-three series. Each of the 16 players has chosen eight teams he can pick from to play with throughout the tournament, which will conclude with the semifinals and finals on April 11.
Last Thursday, Mitchell played the public face of the NBA 2K franchise Ronnie Singh (also known as Ronnie 2K) in a game featuring the Jazz and Dallas Mavericks on a day the two sides were scheduled to meet on the court.
Mitchell “led” the Jazz to a 101-94 victory, scoring 34 points with himself.