The NBA 2K League is well under way as 17 NBA teams pit their official gaming teams against each other.
Applications for the new league were open to all gamers and 70,000 took on that challenge. However, only 102 of them could make the leap of becoming a professional gamer.
One of them, was 21-year-old Harry ‘HazzaUK2K’ Hurt from Reading who has since moved out to Dallas, Texas to represent the Dallas Mavericks’ 2K League team, Mavs gaming. He spoke in a press conference about his new life.
Harry ‘HazzaUK2K’ Hurst lives in America and represents the Dallas Mavericks playing NBA 2K
How have you found your time in the US and playing in the NBA 2K League?
‘It’s been great. Obviously coming over here, it may have been hard to adjust, with a different home environment, different weather, different culture but I’ve settled right in. Everyone has been really friendly and the facilities provided for the team are amazing and will help us to progress in the league.
‘We’re also flying to New York once a week, which can be a bit of a drag but it’s great to do something new. American life is very different to England but I’m settling into it and really enjoying it so far.’
What are your goals for this season?
‘Speaking for myself and the rest of the team, we want to try and win as many games as possible. We have two more tournaments coming up which we would really like to win and the Playoffs which is the big goal at the end which we will be striving to win. We lost the first tournament in the quarter-finals where we were knocked out by the 76ers.
‘It was quite a frustrating loss as we knew we were a good team and we had quite a lot of potential. That was the team that eventually went on to win the tournament so we left with our heads hanging as it wasn’t a great start when we had such high ambitions for ourselves. We’re currently 2-1 [wins-losses] at the moment so things are looking up. We have another tournament in a couple of weeks and we really want to perform to our potential and try and win.’
How did you get into NBA 2K and what drew you to it?
‘I was a big gamer when I was a lot younger. My uncle is really into tech so I got that from him and my Dad’s side are really sporty so I really enjoyed basketball. One of my friends had NBA 2K and I started playing it for a bit – I think it was NBA 2K14. I really enjoyed the combination of gaming and basketball.
‘It was something I really enjoyed and I was quite good at it. I didn’t really know about the opportunity [joining the NBA 2K League] until NBA 2K posted a tweet saying they were accepting try-outs for the league which I was excited about and I wanted to prove myself. That was about a month’s worth of gaming to try and find the best 102 players – I loved the competitive environment.’
How does the real game relate to the NBA 2K League?
‘From real life games we can take set plays and motions and transfer them into the game. So for example, Golden State play five out a lot of the time so we can transfer that into our game. We can have a lot of shooters on our team so we would target the three point line as much as possible.
‘For people who don’t know how it works in the 2K League, each position has its individual archetypes for how you want your players to play. For example you might be fast and athletic but then not so good at shooting and the teams decide what type of player you’re going to be and you can base your offense and defense around that like a lot of NBA teams.
‘Training is very similar as well. We often have video sessions where we watch how other teams play, how we play and how we can transfer those skills into the game. We spend hours each day working on plans and taking down notes so we have things to work on. Then we work on these smaller details in training to make sure we’re a step ahead.’
You grew up in Reading and there’s been a change in your lifestyle, how different is it to the life you’re leading now compared to what it was like before? How has life changed and how do you still keep in touch and stay grounded with your mates back home?
‘Coming to Dallas has been quite a big change; the temperature, the culture – all of that, it’s a lot different from Reading which I’m sure you’ll agree. But in terms of friends and family, the time zone can be quite a difficult situation at times, I normally finish practice around 6/7pm Dallas time which I believe is past midnight back in Reading. So it can be a bit of a struggle but sometimes I wake up early in the morning or we’re constantly speaking over chat trying to stay in touch which is good.
‘I have an uncle that lives out in Texas, so I believe they’re coming over soon and I’m looking forward to seeing them, speaking with them and trying to kind of bond again as such. There’s a lot of difference in terms of the working environment I’m in now, I was a recruitment consultant working in a small office nine to five, Monday to Friday, but now it’s 24/7 working in something that I really, really enjoy. A lot of people who work can’t say they really enjoy what they’re doing 24/7 but I wake up every morning, we have a team meeting, we get to work out, we have lunch and then we come to this state-of-the-art facility in which we can train, enhance our skills to the best of our ability whilst enjoying what we enjoy most.’
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