Written By: Matthew Rondina
WGN was able to catch up with NBA 2K esports athlete Yusuf Abdulla at the Bell Fibe House in Toronto, the ultimate esports training facility. Abdulla is representing his hometown, playing for the Toronto Raptors Uprising GC, looking to bring home a championship.
He’s here to talk about his experience as a 2K esports athlete and share his wisdom to help you be the best possible 2K player you can be.
Check out our HOW TO PLAY video for the UWL
What can you tell us about the tournament and the Bell Fibe House, what does this unprecedented training ground mean for esports in Canada?
Abdulla: “The Fibe House is the biggest house I’ve ever lived in! We’ve got a massive kitchen, 6 rooms that are housing the team. We’ve got our training facilities downstairs in the basement, 10 Alienware PCs, HyperX equipment and Playstation 4s everywhere, we’ve got everything we need to succeed.”
What are your thoughts on the season so far?
Abdulla: “We’re excited, we are trying to build a practice squad so having this tournament is really going to help us determine who’s great and can compete against us.”
For younger esports players what message do you have for them to help be successful in 2K League?
Abdulla: “All I have to say is, don’t give up, put in the hours, I put put in 10-12 hours a day into 2K and working hard will get you to where you want to go, don’t give up, always grind.
To people that tried out last year in 2K League and didn’t make it, try out again next year. If it’s any game, or esports game just put in the hours, repetition makes you perfect. Practice makes perfect, that’s what my parent’s preached and it worked out.”
How do you stay motivated to continue to play and put in the hours to perfect your game?
Abdulla: “2K is similar to real world basketball, I love the game of basketball. I watch, breath, and play basketball.
So playing 2K, now I do it for a living, but before I just loved the game, and if you love the game you would relate to what I am talking about and just keep playing. There’s just that competitiveness of the sport, talking smack, seeing who’s better, bragging rights – before it was just bragging rights but now we are getting paid and playing for a championship. It’s big!”
What games do you play besides NBA 2K? Anything help you to unwind after those tough hardcourt battles?
Abdulla: “I love 2K, but I love Fortnite as well! You know it’s just amazing you can play anywhere, I’ve seen Fornite at parties. I’ve seen people play it at prom! Now it’s on the Switch and you can play it on the bus, you know I think Fortnite is just taking over the world right now! I’m good at it, but not great, but I don’t put in the time like I do with 2K.”
What are your long term aspirations in 2K league and esports in general?
Yusef: *smiling big* “I’m trying to be the Jordan of 2K League. I know it’s big, but I think I can get there one day, and hopefully if the league continues on and I know they have a 3-year deal, so it’s going to continue for awhile.
I want to retire a champion, I wanna be known as the greatest of all time, I want to be known as the guy who brought home Toronto the first 2K League championship.
I want to be the best in the world.”
A special thanks to Yusuf, and the Raptors Uprising for taking the time to chat and open up their training grounds at the Bell Fibe House. Be sure to follow Yusuf and the team’s journey on raptorsuprising.nba.com, twitter, instagram and twitch.
Let us know who you are rooting for in the comments below, game on!
About the Author: Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Follow Matthew’s gaming adventures on twitter and join in on the fun!