Grab your controllers and your WiFi. We’re going for a ride.
For those of you who are heavy into gaming then this is probably obvious but for those who only play casually then you may not be hip to how series e-sports has become. Video game leagues are not only big entertainment, they’re also big business. As such, the NBA and Take-Two Interactive have a joint venture called NBA 2K League where each of the Association’s franchises has a team that takes the court online to compete for championship glory just like their real-life counterparts.
Each of these e-sports teams is run like a legit NBA franchise. As such, there are marketing and promotions events that aim to entertain, engage, and spread the word about the league, the players, and the fun that can be had by participating in online gaming. What better way to accomplish those goals than to spend some time with your favorite celebrities and musicians as they play NBA 2K and discuss the latest and greatest in their careers? The Atlanta Hawks e-sports franchise, Talon GC, is without question one of the best in the league at creating those events as evidenced by the Best Livestream honor that they received in March at the NBA 2K League Team Business Awards. The series called “Talon Takeover” is hosted on the team’s official Twitch page and features artists like Mulatto, Metroboomin’, Sonny Digital, and Lil Durk who have all appeared and tested their controller skills against Talon GC head coach and host Wes Acuff.
Bossip editor Jason “Jah” Lee spoke exclusively to Coach Acuff recently about the team, league, his role, and the excitement surrounding Talon Takeover.
BOSSIP: Thanks for taking the time, coach. Before we get into the accolade that Hawks Talon GC has recently been awarded, tell us about how you got into coaching this team?
Wes Acuff: I’ve always love NBA 2K. It’s always been my game of choice. I’ve always been an active player. When the league was first announced I tried to pursue my desire to play. I was working at NBA TV as a producer/editor and I playing the game daily. If I wasn’t at work, I was playing the game. I found out how good I was when I qualified as one of the top two-hundred-fifty players in the world during that first season of the NBA 2K League. It really made me understand that there are levels to the game and the business. I’m a family man, I have a wife and a son, and the way the structure of the league is built means that players have to relocate to the market where they’re drafted. They have to play for the team that drafted you like the real NBA. That wasn’t going to work for me being based in Atlanta and Atlanta didn’t have a team that first season. I just hoped they would get one eventually. I continued to make content in the 2K community to build my resume in that space. When Atlanta announced that they had a team I just went after that job. I’ve been here for three seasons now and my duties include in-game strategy, player management, roster construction, daily operations, content, and business opps for the team.
B: That’s good for people to hear. There might be some e-ballers and content creators out there who need to know that there’s a career path for their passion. Congratulations on winning Best Livestream at the NBA 2K League Team Business Award for Talon Takeover. Talk to us about what it’s like to have these celebrity interactions while gaming.
WA: It’s been dope! The experience has been really cool. Everyone has been a great guest and sharing their musical stories with us. I love being part of the organization that bridges the gap between e-sports, music, and entertainment. We had Mulatto, Big Latto come on the show and she never played the game before. She scored her first points and it was really cool. We had Seddy Hendrix come on and freestyle for us. It’s been cool and I’m really enjoying the process.
We have a dope team. Everybody is dedicated to the vision. We’re only thinking of ways to elevate it. We’re brainstorming right now on ways to take it to the next level. Our doors are open to all artists, athletes, or entertainers who want to come on. We’ll always be a home to those who are right here in Atlanta but we want to invite celebrity guests from all around the world.
B: What’s next for Talon Takeover?
WA: We did our draft a couple of weeks ago so I want to welcome our three rookies, CEEZ, FAKIEE, and SWANN we already had some dogs here in BP, KEL, and LEE. It’s revenge season. We’re ready to bounce back, get some wins, make a push for the playoffs, and all that. Next week, on April 9 and 10, we’ll be competing in the Three For All Showdown and we’d love for folks to tune in to that. Also, be on the lookout for season 2 of Talon Takeover. It’s coming soon shortly after the season starts. We’re looking to have a lot more fun and getting some W’s along the way.
B: We might need to come on Talon Takeover one of these days!
WA: Let’s do it!