With the NBA season suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ty Jerome (Phoenix Suns) and Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves) headed into the virtual world to get their basketball fix on NBA 2K. The Suns streamed the game on Twitch for their fans. Jerome, an avid gamer, recently streamed Fortnite with a couple of NBA rookies.
The Phoenix Suns streamed NBA 2K games twice this season on social media. Their Twitch feed attracted around 20,000 for the virtual games.
Jerome, 22, won an NCAA basketball championship last year with the Virginia Cavaliers. The Phoenix Suns drafted him late in the first round in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Young NBA players have a significant amount of downtime during the coronavirus outbreak. The Greek Freak utilized the extra time to practice guitar, but other players headed to the couch to play video games such as NBA 2K.
Miami Heat center, Meyers Leonard, has been playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare’s battle royale (similar to PUBG and Fortnite) nonstop since the NBA postponed the season.
With the majority of the world hunkering down in their homes to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the gaming world has seen an unprecedented boom. Online gambling, console gaming, and app games spiked over the last week.
Suns vs. Timberwolves
Ty Jerome and Josh Okogie fired up NBA 2K to play a game for their respective teams. Jerome handled the controls for the Phoenix Suns, while Okogie manned the controller for the Timberwolves. The Suns streamed the game live on Twitch for NBA fans and NBA 2K freaks across the globe.
Okogie, a second-year swingman from Georgia Tech, averaged 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
Jerome averaged 3.5 points and 1.5 assists per game in very limited action this year. With All-Star Devin Booker ahead of him, the rookie didn’t see much action.
The Suns won a blowout 93-63. Booker dropped 29 points in the victory for Jerome on NBA 2K.
“It’s fun,” Jerome told ESPN. “We can’t really interact with the fans right now, so to find different ways to interact with them, it’s fun. It’s definitely entertaining for me, and I hope it is for them, too.”
NBA and Fortnite
Jerome also streamed a couple of Fortnite games with De’Andre Hunter. Hunter is also an NBA rookie and Jerome’s ex-teammate from Virginia when they won 2019 March Madness. Hunter currently plays small forward on the Atlanta Hawks, averaging 12.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Dylan Windler, a rookie from Belmont who is currently on the Cleveland Cavs, also joined Jerome and Hunter for a session of Fortnite.
In an interview on the JJ Redick podcast, Jimmy Butler recently said that the partying in the NBA today is nothing compared to when he first entered the league a decade ago. He said the rise of social media toned down the partying, but the league is a lot younger too. The young NBA stars tend to stay at home and play video games.
On one hand, teams don’t have to worry about their young stars getting into trouble at nightclubs. On the other, many of them got hooked on Fortnite and were losing sleep due to late-night sessions.
The New York Knicks were one team that attempted to address the excessive screen time their young team was exposed to on a nightly basis during road trips. Their young and upcoming stars, like Kevin Knox, were obsessive about Fortnite. The Knicks handed out special tinted glasses to reduce the glare when their players stayed up until the wee hours while holed up in hotel rooms. Then again, the Knicks are so bad, their special glasses had minimal effect.