On Thursday evening, fans and athletes alike got as close to an NCAA tournament as we are going to get this year.
Four of the most prominent basketball schools in recent history faced off. There was shooting, running and assists, yet none of this happened on the basketball court.
It came via Twitch, the video game streaming platform, as Duke, Kentucky, Villanova and North Carolina faced off in a single elimination Call of Duty: Modern Warfare tournament, put on by Justin Jackson and the Dallas Mavericks, to raise money for COVID-19 relief efforts.
“It felt great to be able to do something I like to do and would be doing anyway while raising money for something that is badly needed right now. Kudos to Justin Jackson and his team for putting it together,” said Seth Curry, the captain of Duke’s Call of Duty squad.
A number of current NBA and former college basketball players represented their respective schools in the cleverly named Battle of the Blue. In addition to the four basketball players, each squad had one professional gamer to complete their roster.
Duke reigned victorious over North Carolina in the championship, as sharpshooter Grayson Allen proved his lethal accuracy extends beyond the three point line en route to an undefeated performance for the Blue Devils.
In addition to Allen and Curry, Tre Jones and Cam Reddish joined in as the four were led by professional gamer Methodz.
“My MVP would be Methodz but Grayson had a big clutch moment at the end as well,” said Curry.
For all the gamers out there, Allen pulled through with the most clutch performance of Duke’s day as the Blue Devils found themselves in the championship down 5-3 in search and destroy. Allen was the last Blue Devil standing, as he picked off the two remaining Tar Heels to extend the match and lead to the eventual Duke sweep.
This video game tournament is the latest example of professional athletes diving into the streaming world. Esports has skyrocketed in the past few years and we will surely be seeing more athletes cross over into the video game streaming world in the near future.
“I’m going to be involved in 1 or 2 more tournaments of this sort as of right now. It’s a great way to create entertainment for fans while still practicing social distancing,” said Curry.
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