ORLANDO – Magic Gaming is eager to prove that with their blend of talent and competitiveness to go along with a developing culture centered around incremental improvement that they can make waves in the NBA 2K League this season. Now, they know exactly when they’ll have that opportunity.
The NBA 2K League announced the 2021 regular season schedule on Tuesday, along with their season-long competition structure. The 16-week season will begin on Wednesday, May 19 with THE TIPOFF tournament, and will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 4 with the 2021 NBA 2K League Finals. Magic Gaming, along with 22 other teams, will each compete in 14 matchups with 28 regular season games apiece.
“We are very much ready to go,” Magic Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Jonah Edwards explained. “The group is just very hungry, a hunger that I have not seen out of the group really since about mid-season, season two when we were really able to turn it on and be a high-level team in the league. I really do think that the group is going to fit well together.”
Orlando brought back three players from last season, including point guard Brendan “Reizey” Hill, power forward Daniel “DT” Tlais and center Robert “May” May. Magic Gaming acquired Justin “Snubby” Stemerman from Hornets Venom GT in an offseason trade and added Josue “FutureClutch” Acosta Gomez in the second round and Jackson “Potts” Potts in the third round of the 2021 NBA 2K League Draft.
“It’s night and day from the group we had last year,” Edwards explained. “It’s a lot different in terms of our overall energy level, our attention to detail, and willingness to be a teammate. Our group fits much more naturally, they get along great, and communicate really well so far.”
Magic Gaming will open their regular season schedule against NetsGC. Regular season games will begin at 7 p.m. ET and take place on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with four distinct matchups each night. Matchups will be played in a two‑game format, and different from last season, each contest will count towards regular season standings. Here’s a complete look at Orlando’s schedule:
Magic Gaming’s 2021 NBA 2K League Schedule:
5/19 THE TIPOFF TOURNAMENT
5/26 Wednesday NetsGC 9:00 PM
5/28 Friday Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai 7:00 PM
6/2 Wednesday 76ers GC 7:00 PM
6/10 Thursday Pacers Gaming 7:00 PM
6/12 Saturday Heat Check Gaming 9:00 PM
6/24 Thursday Cavs Legion GC 7:00 PM
6/26 Saturday Hawks Talon GC 9:00 PM
7/4 BYE WEEK
7/9 Friday Grizz Gaming 9:00 PM
7/10 Saturday Wizards District Gaming 9:00 PM
7/12-7/17 THE TURN TOURNAMENT
7/22 Thursday Hornets Venom GT 7:40 PM
7/24 Saturday Jazz Gaming 7:00 PM
8/4 Wednesday Grizz Gaming 7:00 PM
8/5 Thursday Celtics Crossover Gaming 8:00 PM
8/11 Wednesday Heat Check Gaming 7:00 PM
8/19 THE TICKET TOURNAMENT
*Home games in bold
**All game dates and times are subject to change
“I think in looking at our schedule the most promising thing is the positions of our bye weeks,” Edwards said. “Some teams have pretty awkward positioning of their bye weeks. I think we’re really blessed to have bye weeks that naturally break up our season and can actually give us an opportunity to get a week off and reset our focus a little bit.”
For the first time, the NBA 2K League will be aligned into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each team will play matchups both within their conference and against squads in the other conference. The teams in each conference are listed below:
Magic Gaming, 76ers GC, Celtics Crossover Gaming, Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, Grizz Gaming, Hawks Talon GC, Heat Check Gaming, Hornets Venom GT, Knicks Gaming, Nets GC, Raptors Uprising GC and Wizards District Gaming.
Bucks Gaming, Blazer5 Gaming, Cavs Legion GC, Jazz Gaming, Kings Guard Gaming, Lakers Gaming, Mavs Gaming, Pacers Gaming, Pistons GT, T-Wolves Gaming and Warriors Gaming Squad.
“I think the addition of conferences is a good decision for the league and it opens up some other potential options,” Edwards said. “It opens up a number of opportunities and naturally will create some rivalries.”
Also new this year, the field for the 2021 NBA 2K League playoffs has expanded to 12 teams. While Orlando has failed to make the postseason in each of the league’s three seasons, they’ve been just one game out of the playoffs in all three years.
“My opinion has been and will continue to be that we shouldn’t have to worry about being eight through twelve (in the standings),” Edwards said. “We should be more concerned with being one through four. We’re going to try and be the best we can be. We’re certainly not going to look at it and say, ‘well if this was in place last year, or two years or three years ago than we would have been a playoff team.’ I don’t think we’re looking at it that way. We know that we haven’t made the playoffs in three years and the group is hungry to prove a lot of people wrong this year.”
The 2021 season will once again include three in-season tournaments (THE TIPOFF, THE TURN and THE TICKET) as part of THE BANNER CHAIN powered by AT&T. All 23 teams will compete in THE TIPOFF and THE TURN. The top five teams in each conference at the end of the regular season will automatically qualify for the NBA 2K League playoffs, which begin on Thursday, Aug. 26. The 13 remaining teams will compete in THE TICKET, with the winning teams from each conference earning the 11th and 12th spots in the postseason. The NBA 2K League will award $1.5 million in prize money across the THE TIPOFF, THE TURN and the playoffs.
Each NBA 2K League team will begin the 2021 season playing remotely from its local market. Games will be simulcast live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels, and will be available on Dash Radio, ESRevolution, Loco in India and Sport1 in Europe.
“After a transformational 2020 season, we are thrilled to bring NBA 2K League action back to fans worldwide in Season 4,” said NBA 2K League President Brendan Donohue. “We’re working toward returning to our live studio experience once we safely can be together, and all fans rooting for their teams around the globe will surely enjoy the rivalries that will develop with the introduction of conferences.”
To enhance that fan viewing experience, for the first time, regular season broadcasts will feature nightly themes:
“NBA 2KL Block Party Wednesdays” will highlight voices around the NBA 2K League community, including influencer personalities. “NBA 2KL Bounce Pass Thursdays” will be the league’s most fast-paced night of gameplay, packing all four matchups into a three-hour window. They will include as many as three games happening simultaneously, and the broadcasts will bounce around to highlight the most exciting action. “NBA 2KL Friday Night Fire” will spotlight the week’s marquee matchup with the Game of the Week and dive deep into the stories of the league’s 138 players with never-before-seen content and interviews. And, “NBA 2KL Saturday Night Showdown” will explore new broadcast elements and voices and focus on the hardcore 2K fans by showcasing the game and players through the lens of the league’s most compelling storylines, including rivalries between individual players and teams.
“I’m going to say Saturday (is my favorite of the new theme nights) because that seems to be the most competitive, compelling 2K broadcast if we’re talking about high-level 2K,” Edwards said. “They’ll be focusing on the in-depth storylines between the teams and that seems to be the broadcast for you, if you’re a hardcore fan.”
Whether you’re a hardcore fan, a curious Magic fan, or loosely interested in Esports, this season will have something to offer. And Magic Gaming hopes that they’ll emerge from this campaign not only having captured your interest, but a championship trophy to go along with it.