Donovan Mitchell competing for $100,000 prize in players-only NBA 2K tournament

Donovan Mitchell is happy he will be back on the basketball court soon.

Even if it’s just in a video game.

The Utah Jazz guard will compete against other NBA stars in a players-only NBA 2K tournament on ESPN this weekend. Mitchell’s first game is Friday night against Washington Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura. With the NBA suspended indefinitely amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Mitchell said he is excited to be able to compete in a different way.

“I think this tournament is going to be a lot of trash-talking, a lot of competitiveness,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s filling a void. We need that right now with all the craziness that’s going on with this virus. And this will allow people to stay home and watch. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The seeding for the 16 players in the tournament is as follows:

  1. Kevin Durant
  2. Trae Young
  3. Hassan Whiteside
  4. Donovan Mitchell
  5. Devin Booker
  6. Andre Drummond
  7. Zach LaVine
  8. Montrezl Harrell
  9. Domantas Sabonis
  10. Deandre Ayton
  11. DeMarcus Cousins
  12. Michael Porter Jr.
  13. Rui Hachimura
  14. Patrick Beverley
  15. Harrison Barnes
  16. Derrick Jones Jr.

“You’re going to see guys in a different element, in their home environment,” Mitchell said. “And you’re going to see how they’re interacting with each other, pretty much in an uncensored way.”

Mitchell is an avid gamer, who said he plays NBA 2K, Call of Duty and MLB: The Show, nearly every day. During his self-isolation and social distancing, Mitchell has relied on gaming as an outlet. He has matched up with other NBA players in games of Call of Duty. He has even teamed up with famed gamer Ninja, whom Mitchell met at All-Star Weekend in February.

“I’ve been playing with Ninja a bunch,” Mitchell said. “It’s pretty cool. He’s obviously way better than I am. But it’s been cool to engage with him in his world. It’s taught me so many things and it’s allowed me to really get hooked on this.”

The NBA 2K players tournament tips off Friday at 5 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN2. Players will use Xbox One and compete in a single-elimination tournament for the prize of a $100,000 donation to the charity of their choosing.

Mitchell is ready for his 4-13 matchup with Hachimura.

“I’m excited,” the Jazz guard said. “I don’t know much about his playing style. But I know how I hoop.”

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