Recap: The Women In Gaming Development Camp Through a Woman’s Eyes

HEAT Group Business Communications Assistant Sady Alvarez joined HEAT Check Gaming GM and Head Coach Famous Enough last week in New York and documented her experience at the NBA 2K League Development Camp for Women in Gaming.

Long Island City, NY – In the dining area at Brooklyn Studios where NBA 2K League players and coaches usually hang out, chat and grab a snack before a game – I found a couple of women gathered around speaking about the league.

The NBA 2K League hosted its first-ever development camp for Women in Gaming in New York City. The four-day camp featured 15 of the top female NBA 2K players who competed alongside NBA 2K League coaches and players, including Chiquita Evans, the league’s first female player. I was fortunate enough to attend the camp with HEAT Check Gaming GM and Head Coach, Derric “Famous Enough” Franklin. Famous, Nets GC GM and Head Coach, Ivan “OGKingCurt” Curtiss and Pacers Gaming Senior Director of Esports Operations and Head Coach, Cody Parrent were coaches for the camp.

(Photo Credit: Michelle Farsi)

“I decided to be a part of this camp because for me it’s not only about giving these women a chance, but also being able to have a familiar face from the league around to mentor them,” said Famous. “They can open up and be themselves when they’re playing.”

As soon as I entered the studio and met up with Famous, I was given a tour in which I saw where the games take place, where players practice before a game, the post-game interview or “content” area and more. I’ve worked with HEAT Check Gaming for a little over two years now, but I have never had the “studio experience” so, as I walked into the studio, I was starstruck. I thought to myself, “so this is where the pros play.” I have seen this studio live through my phone or laptop screen during every HEAT Check game, so seeing it in person felt surreal.

During the camp, I shadowed Famous to learn how he helps the women prepare for their games and experience the camp first-hand as a female myself. On the third day of camp, the ladies were placed into teams of five. In these teams, they came up with a game plan, practiced and eventually played their final games in a “round-robin” tournament. Pacers Gaming player, Bryant “WoLF 74” Colon, served as Famous’ right hand man and assistant coach.

(Photo Credit: Michelle Farsi)

These female gamers not only had a chance to learn from NBA 2K League professionals, but they also attended various workshops including one held by AT&T Public Relations and Social Media professionals on how to build their brand using social media. AT&T served as an official partner of the camp.

(Photo Credit: Michelle Farsi)

When it came down to game time, the enthusiasm coming from these ladies was much like that from a league player. Do you remember what it was like sitting down watching HEAT Check take on Knicks Gaming for the first time this past season? Well, that’s the same energy I felt coming from the ladies – no #FakeEnergy around here.

Oh, and the trash talking was also up to par with that of league players.

“I really enjoyed being able to meet people that I’ve actually played with forever,” said camper and NBA 2K League prospect, Leena Booski. “The overall experience was amazing. Being on the stage that I’ve watched so many times made me feel this inexplicable rush.

“For the female gamers out there looking to make it into the league and receive invitations to these development camps, I have to say keep grinding and make noise. I haven’t shut up since I got here.”

She wasn’t kidding – Booski definitely made noise this weekend:

After practicing and sightseeing each day, the ladies all met up in the hotel lobby to chat and, yes, a little friendly trash-talking did occur.

The camp wrapped up on Saturday, which is when campers received a Twitter follow from the NBA 2K League Commissioner himself, Brendan Donahue.

My biggest takeaway from this weekend is that, yes, the world of sports is really evolving and gender is not a factor when it comes to gaming. You no longer need to be as athletic as Candace Parker or Maya Moore to be a part of the NBA family. Instead, you can put your gaming skills to the test and become a professional NBA 2K League Player. Teams who are looking to draft new talent into the league aren’t looking at your gender – all they see are gamers and how well you play on the sticks. With that said, each and every one of these ladies I met at the camp have the potential to make it big in the 2K Community. Next time I visit the Brooklyn Studios, I hope to see them wearing NBA 2K Team Jerseys.