PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Imagine getting played to play video games. That dream is a reality for some gamers, thanks to the 76ers. Video games have evolved over time and the 76ers Gaming Club is part of that evolution.
These players aren’t as recognizable as Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons, but within the NBA2K leagues, they are big names.
“They’re all very, very talented. Obviously they’re the best in the world. And they understand the game, as well. Not all of them played traditionally, but they all understand it and it’s really neat,” 76ers Gaming Club coach said.
The club is part of a 21-team league that functions much like the actual NBA. Each team is owned by an NBA franchise.
There is also a player combine showcasing their skills, leading into the NBA2K draft.
“My first year, and these guys first year, when we tried out for the combine, there were 77,000 people that tried out. Only 102 made it,” Alex “Steez” Bernstein said.
The 25-year-old Bernstein left behind a steady job to pursue his online hoop dreams.
“Once I got done school I started doing the financial advising gig and after I would get off work, I would just keep gaming and I picked up 2K as my main game,” he said.
That led to being selected in Round Four of the 2017 draft. Along with being selected, comes a six-month contract and the ability to make more during in-season tournaments.
Winning the NBA2K Finals can net each player north of $40,000, Bernstein says the schedule is a grind.
“Last year it was a full six-months you’re locked in — not too much time to actually go home and visit your family,” he said. “This year, they knew that was rough because there’s a lot of individuals in this league that have kids.”
At their space inside the Sixers practice facility in Camden, Alex walked CBS3’s Pat Gallen through a workout with the gaming club.
Watch the video above to see how Pat fared with the rest of the club.