MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The NBA remains on hold, but those looking for a basketball fix can look no further than the NBA 2K League where Minnesota’s team is the reigning champion.
“We was on the ultimate roller coaster last year,” said Michael Key, also known as Bear Da Beast. “We didn’t start out hot, but we finished smoking.”
For those sitting at home wondering how grown adults play video games for a living, Bear meets your skepticism with a smile and a level of understand. But, he also knows that while pro sports are on hold, now is a time to attract curious eyes.
“When I’m telling their friends, their coworkers what I do, they’re stunned,” he said. “They’re like, you do what for a living? They want to hear all about it. So, it’s not like they’re not excited about it. They just don’t know about it. So, it’s like a good chance for us to take off as a league.”
Bear doesn’t just play in the virtual world, either. He played college basketball at Piedmont International University. Even though it’s obviously not the same in the physical sense, Bear says it takes the same amount of mental fortitude to play 2K.
“I feel like one of the big reasons why we won was we actually got players that play basketball in real life so we got another college player and guys that played in high school so they understand the game,” Bear said. “And when you understand the game of real basketball and you translate it to 2K, it’s very similar.”
Bear’s exuberance for his craft is part of what makes him a rising star in the game.
The goal for Timberwolves Gaming is to win a second straight championship. Win or lose, he gets to play 2K for a living and he wants you to know that he’s loving every minute of it.
“We go places, like, hey, you’re Bear Da Beast. Like, I might be in New York, I might be in Minnesota and if someone recognize me, like, I’m more shocked that they see me, so I’m asking for the picture before they asked for the picture.”