Upon returning to their home areas a few weeks ago, Magic Gaming players began to share some of their most memorable anecdotes from the last few months with family and friends.
As you would expect from several guys in their 20s who just partook in something historic and life-changing, the stories drew smiles and intrigue from everyone around them.
Some of the more attention-grabbing tales related to the team’s gradual improvement, and the hard work that went on behind the scenes. Other stories, meanwhile, accentuated the eternal bond that was formed between this cohesive group.
From all the rigorous practice sessions in Orlando to the riveting battles at NBA 2K League’s New York gaming studio and from their charitable efforts in Central Florida to all the off-the-virtual-court activities they participated in together, the memories will now last a lifetime.
“It was fantastic,” said Cameron “KingCamRoyalty” Ford, the Magic’s sixth round draft pick who averaged 13.0 points and 8.1 rebounds. “Probably more than what I expected. Met a lot of great people on top of doing something I love.”
The way the team jelled was extraordinary, going from winless through the first five games to finishing with the same regular season record as four playoff teams. It was a grind, though, as they had to dig deep within themselves and learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses before making substantial progress.
“Everybody on this team has a lot of pride,” Bilal “SUPREME PULLER” Almashni said in August after the Magic wrapped up their season with an impressive win over Celtics Crossover Gaming. “Our team really believed in one another that we could be a top contender.”
Becoming NBA 2K professionals – something that KingCamRoyalty and others never thought in their wildest imaginations would come to fruition while playing the game recreationally for so long – meant they had to figure out, fairly quickly in fact, how to crystalize.
Throughout the journey, Magic Gaming developed outstanding chemistry, something that everyone who was involved in the league marveled at.
“Before, I didn’t play for any individual team, I just played by myself or with friends occasionally,” KingCamRoyalty said. “Being a part of an actual team brought me closer to those guys as individuals on top of being players. It’s a cool group of guys, wouldn’t rather do it with anyone else. Those are my guys for sure.”
While reflecting on all the good times from these past several months, each player will now have an opportunity to sharpen up their skills during the NBA 2K League offseason. Although it’s a challenge for many to juggle that with other life endeavors, that won’t stop them from continuing to do what they love.
“I’m still going to play pretty much like how I played before,” said KingCamRoyalty, who is also a college student. “Now I actually know people who are good at the game on the 2K League level, so I will able to play with them here and there just to stay in touch, get used to playing against great players. But, I wouldn’t do anything too different than before. I feel like I prepared myself pretty well just playing and focusing on what I need to work on.”
For KingCamRoyalty and teammate Emmanuel “UCMANNY” Cruz, who averaged 15.4 points and was one of the league’s leaders in 3-pointers, the inaugural season was just a taste of what’s ahead as both were retained by Magic Gaming for 2019.
“Very excited,” KingCamRoyalty said. “In the first place, they are the guys that gave me a chance. To be able to come back and have them behind me and the fact that they are bringing me back shows that they believe I can do something great. So, I definitely want to make something happen, not just for me but for them as well.”
“As a community overall, I enjoyed the atmosphere of Orlando, the atmosphere of the Magic, everybody’s great, everybody cares for you and wants to see you succeed,” he added.
Magic Gaming will also have the ninth pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft.