Meet Alex and Freddy: 20-year-old twins who work at a Boston Market in Connecticut and just got drafted to play pro on rival teams in the 'NBA 2K' esports league

Whelan Brothers 2KL Draft

  • Freddy and Alex Whelan will be the first brothers to compete in
    the NBA 2K League, the basketball association’s official esports
  • Alex was drafted #6 overall by Hornets Venom GT, the Charlotte
    Hornets’ esports affiliate, while Freddy was drafted #31 overall by
    Jazz Gaming, the esports affiliate of the Utah Jazz.
  • The Whelan brothers built a strong reputation within the “NBA
    2K” community after beating top competition in online tournaments
    and uploading replays of their games to YouTube.
  • The brothers will earn more than $30,000 during the four-month
    season starting in May. Most of their summer will be spent in their
    team’s home city, with games hosted in New York City during the
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Freddy and Alex Whelan entered the NBA 2K League Draft confident
that they would become the first family members to compete in the
NBA’s official esports circuit. The twin brothers spent two years
establishing themselves as top prospects in “NBA 2K’s” online
Pro-Am competitions and now Alex and Freddy will represent Hornets
Venom GT and Jazz Gaming when the NBA 2K League kicks off in

Freddy and Alex have been playing “NBA 2K,” Take-Two
Interactive’s best-selling basketball simulation, since “NBA 2K11”
and started competing with “NBA 2K17.” In “NBA 2K,” gamers can
create and train an avatar to play in 5-on-5 basketball games with
other players online. The NBA 2K League offers the best “2K”
players in the world a chance to play for NBA affiliate squads
during a four-month season.

Players auditioned for the 2020 NBA 2K League Draft through a
series of online competitions in November 2019, and the Whelan
brothers found out they would be draft eligible on December 16.

“It ended up dropping around I think nine o’clock or something
late like that,” Freddy said. “My brother got his [email] first and
he got a a notification on his phone and he was all happy and stuff
and he said, ‘I made it, I made it.’ Then I didn’t get a
notification on my phone, so I was there hoping it came in waves. I
ended up checking my spam after like six minutes — I was
heartbroken for a little bit, but it was there.”

Charlotte x

A post shared by Freddy Whelan (@freddyxwhelan) on Feb 23, 2020
at 9:30am PST on Feb 23, 2020 at 9:30am PST

On February 22, Hornets Venom GT drafted Alex with the sixth
overall pick in the 2K League Draft and Jazz Gaming selected Freddy
with the 31st pick. The brothers said they built strong reputations
for themselves in the “NBA 2K” community after performing well
against league prospects in the game’s competitive Park and Pro-AM

Their Pro-AM team, Self Taught, won a $3,000 tournament online
in 2018 and Alex started uploading their replays to YouTube,
gaining the attention of thousands of hardcore “NBA 2K” fans in the
process. Alex uses the nickname ExposeHim_ online, and Freddy is
known as GetOnMyLevel41.

“We ended up playing park YouTubers and people with high rep,”
Freddy said. “Alex started uploading videos of us beating them and
then got a lot of traction. He ended up gaining like 50,000
subscribers in the first month.”

As a first round pick Alex will earn $35,000 for the 2020
season, while Freddy is eligible for a $33,000 contract as a second
round pick. NBA 2K League players spend most of the season living
in their team’s home city, so Freddy will be in Utah while Alex
spends his summer in Charlotte. It’ll be a fresh journey for the
20-year-old twins, who currently work together at a Boston Market
near their hometown of Stratford, Connecticut.

We’ll definitely have a new experience, a different culture
we’re both living in,”Freddy said. “We can share what we learn and
compare our experiences. It’s definitely something really unique
and cool.”

That first phone call…📲@ExposeHim__
x @NBA2KLeague
Draft 🗣️

— Hornets Venom GT (@HornetsVenomGT)
February 25, 2020

The league flies its teams to New York City for live games each
weekend, so the brothers will see their paths cross plenty of times
during the season. Freddy said it would’ve been great to bring the
chemistry he has with his brother to a 2K League team, but they’ve
rarely had an opportunity to compete against each other. 

Alex and Freddy grew up playing organized basketball in local
leagues and enjoying “2K” with friends, but eventually they
realized they wanted to take the game more seriously than their
friends. The pair began playing in the game’s competitive
“playground” mode and eventually met other people who were willing
to form a team for online events.

Freddy said he probably spent about 30 hours a week playing when
he began playing “NBA 2K” competitively. Together with Alex, his
team would organize time to practice and scrimmage against other
squads. When it came time for the combine, the intense trial period
when the league judges the top “2K” players, Freddy said he was
playing as much as 45 hours a week, with sessions starting at 7
p.m. and running until 3 or 4 a.m.

The combine challenges “2K” players by forcing them to play with
strangers rather than their usual online teammates. Players are
forced to communicate and build a winning strategy on the fly while
also being tested on basic in-game mechanics like shooting,
defense, and positioning.

“Every single game you had to kind of figure out what your
teammates wanted to do and try to help them learn some things they
didn’t know,” Freddy said. “2K is a lot about spacing, so maybe you
try to help them figure the right placement. You try to mesh your
play style to how your teammates play. So we definitely had to play
differently than say, with a group of teammates you’re used to
playing with. “

Freddy and Alex will compete alongside veteran 2K league players
when the NBA launches its third season, so they’ll have to see how
they they fit alongside their respective rosters. When asked what
they’ll buy with their first NBA 2K League paycheck, the twin
brothers had the same response — new shoes.

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Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Meet Alex and Freddy: 20-year-old twins who work at a Boston Market in Connecticut and just got drafted to play pro on rival teams in the 'NBA 2K' esports league