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SALT LAKE CITY — Yeah I Compete.
It’s not the next statement, creed or motto of the Utah Jazz; it’s the name of the newest first-round draft pick of the organization.
Jazz Gaming selected Shaka Browne — better known by his gamer tag "Yeah I Compete" — with the No. 3 overall selection in the inaugural NBA 2K League draft Wednesday morning. The draft was broadcast by NBA TV and Twitch.tv, where games will be streamed in 2018.
"This feeling is indescribable," Browne said from the draft site at Madison Square Garden in New York. "I put all the hours in, playing this game for over a decade. I'm just taking it all in right now."
A native of Mount Vernon, New York, Browne was a member of GFG eSports, a Pro-Am NBA 2K organization that specialized in the Xbox console. He’ll play point guard for Jazz Gaming, the newest member of Salt Lake City's' NBA organization announced in December.
Browne averaged 24.2 points, 13.7 assists and 3.5 steals per game while winning 80 percent of his games during the inaugural NBA 2K League Combine.
"We are thrilled to have Shaka join Jazz Gaming as our first pick," Jazz Gaming director of e-sports Josh Barney said in a statement. "He was our No. 1-rated point guard in this draft. Shaka is very charismatic and a team-centric player who we feel will be a great fit in our organization."
Jazz Gaming went inside-out with its first two picks, drafting center Malik Leisinger in the second round. The 2K big man nicknamed "MrSlaughter01" from Ohio was blunt when asked what brings him to Salt Lake City.
"Winning," he said.
The Jazz also drafted Virginia power forward DeMar "Deedz" Butler in the third round, Massachusetts shooting guard Delano "Tifeworld" Allsup Jr. in the fourth, and Texas small forward Jaishon "24K JSmoove" Scott in the fifth round.
With its team’s final pick of the draft, Jazz Gaming selected Michael "Stambreezy" Stam, a power forward from North Carolina.
Mavs Gaming, the organization owned by the Dallas Mavericks, selected point guard Artreyo Boyd, aka "Dimez," with the No. 1 overall pick.
Each team drafts five players, one at each position of a traditional basketball team, through the draft and then has one extra pick to draft a player from any position of its choice. First-round selections will earn a six-month salary of $35,000, plus housing, meals, travel and medical benefits, according to ESPN eSports.
All other draft picks earn a six-month salary of $32,000.
Jazz Gaming 2018 draft picks
|1||Shaka Browne||Yeah I Compete||PG||New York|
|4||Delano Allsup Jr||Tifeworld||SG||Massachusetts|
|5||Jaishon Scott||24K JSmoove||SF||Texas|
|6||Michael Stam||Stambreezy||PF||North Carolina|
Each team selects from a pool of 102 draft-eligible players, a pool that was whittled down from more than 20,000 applicants through a series of combines, open gaming and interviews that began in January.
Jazz Gaming is one of 17 franchises that will compete in the league’s inaugural season, which begins in May. Other franchises are Mavs Gaming, Celtics Crossover Gaming, Kings Guard Gaming, Pistons GT, Blazer5 Gaming, Heat Checking Gaming, Magic Gaming, Knicks Gaming, Bucks Gaming, Raptors Uprising GC, Wizards District Gaming, Pacers Gaming, 76ers GC, Grizz Gaming, Cavs Legion GC and Warriors Gaming Squad.