The photo, posted to Patrick Beverley’s Instagram account Monday afternoon, showed the Clippers guard with both hands wrapped tightly around a basketball during a recent game, his face so close to its leather skin that it looked as if he was sharing a secret.
“Miss It,” Beverley wrote.
Beverley is one of many around the NBA who, three weeks into the league’s suspended season following the first positive test by a player for the novel coronavirus, are antsy for the return of basketball. He is also one of eight players who will take part in its return Friday — kind of.
Sixteen NBA players, including Beverley and Clippers center Montrezl Harrell, will take part in an ESPN-televised NBA 2K video-game tournament that begins Friday. The virtual tournament is expected to last about 10 days, Yahoo Sports reported, with the participants revealed Tuesday. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, were behind the effort through their online entity the Boardroom.
The players are seeded by their rating in the game, as well as the length of their tenure in the real-life NBA. With a 96 overall rating, Durant is the top seed and faces Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. Beverley is seeded 14, facing third-seeded Hassan Whiteside of Portland, and the eighth-seeded Harrell opens against Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis.
The 2K tournament isn’t the only virtual way players are filling the current basketball void.
L.A. Sparks guard Chelsea Gray is taking part in the NBA 2K League’s “Three-for-All Showdown” that runs Tuesday through Friday and pits players from the NFL, NBA G League and WNBA in a virtual three-on-three tournament. Twitch and YouTube will stream the tournament.