Raptors Uprising GC boss Shane Talbot to oversee Canada's NBA 2K esports team

·2 min read

TORONTO — Shane Talbot, who oversaw Raptors Uprising GC's perfect NBA 2K League regular season this year, has been named manager of Canada’s NBA 2K team ahead of the FIBA Esports Open.

Talbot, esports manager at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, will oversee roster selection, operations and team performance. 

"What an honour, can’t wait to get started," Talbot said in a social media post.

Talbot said potential Canadian players should expect interview requests within the next week.

Canada is one of seven federations that will compete in the FIBA Esports Open II North and Central American conference Dec. 19-20.

Talbot could find himself up against a familiar face in Kenneth (Kenny Got Work) Hailey. The Raptors Uprising star point guard, named the NBA 2K League MVP this season, has been named to the U.S. squad.

The first edition of the FIBA esports event was held in June with 114 video gamers from 17 national federations across five regional conferences.

Argentina (South America), Italy (Europe), Saudi Arabia (Middle East), Australia (Oceania) and the Philippines (Southeast Asia) were the conference winners.

An expanded field of 38 national teams is slated to take part in the second edition, set to take place over three weekends with six regional conferences. It will mark the first esports competition for Canada Basketball.

“Esports and gaming have experienced tremendous growth in recent years and Canada Basketball is looking forward to competing in the upcoming FIBA Esports Open,” Glen Grunwald, Canada Basketball president and CEO, said in a statement.

Conferences have been set up according to geographical conditions and server distributions.

The Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia conferences will be played Nov. 14-15, with Europe conference set for Dec. 12-13. The North and Central America, and South America conferences will take place Dec. 19-20.

Each team will consist of seven players: five on the court and two reserves. Conference finals will be a best-of-three format. 

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2020

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press