Atlanta Hawks esports franchise, Hawks Talon GC, in midseason form for inaugural season

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The Atlanta Hawks' season is over as the team prepares for next month’s NBA Draft, but if you are still looking for your “professional” basketball fix, Hawks Talon GC is right in the middle of their inaugural season.

If you’ve ever told your child to stop playing video games because they are a waste of might want to rethink that dated advice. In fact, you might even want to encourage them to improve their skills at NBA 2K.

The esports league, a joint venture between the NBA and Take Two Interactive, is in its second season, and 21 of the league’s 30 teams have a franchise. 

The Hawks Talon GC is an expansion franchise, and they are off to a pretty good start. Made up of six players from all over the country (none of them from Atlanta), they are led by forward Connor “Dat Boy Shotz” Rodrigues, whom they claimed from Portland in the expansion draft. They are coached by former NBA –TV editor and producer Wesley Acuff, who also serves as general manager. 

The beauty of virtual basketball is that it doesn’t require ridiculous height or freakish athleticism, but it does require a particular set of skills . . . namely focus, great hand/eye coordination, cat-like reflexes, and a lot of dedication. While the players do consider themselves athletes, they also say that anyone can play NBA 2K at the highest level, if they are willing to put in the work practicing.

So here's the bottom line: All players sign six-month contracts, first-rounders earn a base salary of $35,000, and all other players have a base salary of $32,000.

If that doesn’t sound like much to you, consider it is only for six months, and wait until you hear about the perks. Players can also sign endorsement deals to earn additional income, and there is an additional $1.2 million in prize money to be awarded through tournaments and the league championship.

Now to those perks: in addition to their base salary, players receive paid housing for the season, with relocation expenses included in their compensation packages. All of the games are played in New York, so they also receive travel expenses for hotel, food, and transportation. They also get medical benefits and a retirement plan. 

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, huh?

Also, Coach Acuff thinks this is just the beginning when it comes to esports. He predicts that it will one day be part of the Olympic Games.

For more information on the Hawks Talon GC, go to their website.

For additional information on the NBA 2K League, click here

If you would like to watch tonight’s game between the Hawks Talon GC and the Cavs Legion GC, click here.