Warriors Gaming Squad is in the NBA 2K playoffs; vote them for All-Star!
Golden State wants to win at everything they do, and that includes the world of video games.
The Golden State Warriors nailed the draft and stole the headlines at Summer League, but their franchise isn’t done hunting for greatness this summer.
Warriors Gaming Squad, Golden State’s official NBA 2K League team, has once again made the playoffs, but this time it’s different. They are a year removed from losing in the 2K Finals; a painful defeat that drives them to finish the job this season and bring home the first 2K title to the Bay Area.
Additionally, the league is having its first All-Star game and the voting is happening right now! Today each vote counts two-for-one, and we’re counting on you Dub Nation to get our squad the recognition they deserve.
I had a chance to sit down with Charles “CB13” Bostwick, Sam “Gradient” Salyers, and rookie Veron “Hezi” Coates to discuss their All-Star hopes, their love for gaming, and their ultimate goal of becoming champions.
Last year the team made the Finals and came up short, what are your expectations going into the playoffs?
Hezi: Our expectation is to make it as far as we can to be honest. We believe that we’re better than any other 1 through 5 on paper. So we gotta come out there with the right mindset. I feel like if we come out there every game 100%, talking on offense and on defense, definitely should be Finals easy. But we gotta get there first; so one series at a time, starting with the Pistons in the first round.
How do you feel about your first round matchup with Pistons GT?
CB13: The Pistons are a decent team, I mean they have a really good point guard. And the rest of their team is solid and they all know how to play their role. We played the Pistons actually in “The Turn” right before the regular season continued and we lost 2-1.
But we felt like we were gonna 2-0 that, a couple more shots go our way in those games and we definitely 2-0 that. I feel in that second game we had a easy opportunity get outta there, and then that third game…once you don’t put a team a way that kinda lingers for that last game.
That’s kinda how that went down. The Pistons have a really good player in Radiant, but other than that we kinda see them as a favorable matchup for us.
Was there anything you learned from last year’s playoff run that you’re taking into this year?
Gradient: It’s been an all year type of lesson, just to take every game more serious and play every scrimmage with a lot of intensity, and take practice really serious. That was…not our downfall last year but we just didn’t take practice as seriously as we could because there were just so many games. And when you don’t train good habits that’s what comes back to bite us in the Finals.
We’re taking a lot of good habits from practice to the games this year and just working hard every day. The Wizards won the championship last year and they might be the hardest working team in the league. I think that translates from bringing intensity to every practice.
The voting for the first ever 2K League All-Star game is happening right now. Tell me why your teammate is an All-Star, starting with CB talking about Hezi.
Hezi: Oh yeah, this is a good question right here!
CB13: I would say I would definitely put him as an All-Star based on the intensity he brings on defense. I feel like he always brings a big impact and has us engaged on that side of the ball. He does turn the ball over a little bit…(everyone cracks up laughing) but other than that his game is pretty good.
He dumps the ball well and makes the right pass, obviously I’m just joking about the turnovers. He’s a really good playmaker and defender, and that’s what we drafted him for. Those were two things we felt like we needed to get better at last offseason as far as a secondary playmaker, and he’s come in and filled that role completely.
Okay, now Hezi tell me why Gradient is an All-Star.
Gradient: Lotta reasons.
Hezi: He’s arguably the best lock. That’s just my opinion. The way he plays defense, and especially the way he can play offense. Most lockdowns in this league I feel like can only play defense. Some guys know how to rotate well but I feel with Gradient he can lock on ball and doesn’t really need help. He always makes the right play on offense. He makes the clutch threes. He can playmake too. He brings some skills to the game that some lockdowns shouldn’t bring. He’s a good All-Star.
And Gradient tell me why last year’s MVP runner up CB13 is an All-Star.
Gradient: He should have been the MVP last year. He’s the best passer in the league and a willing passer, everyone wants to play with the Warriors because of him. You know that he’s going to get you the ball and you’re gonna get yours. And if you’re down 4 with a minute left, he has a switch that no one else but he can hit. He can just dominate the game and get 12 or 15 straight points, and literally no one else can turn on that switch that he got.
CB13: He’s saying stuff I know.
Gradient: I know! That’s what I’m saying.
(Everyone cracks up laughing).
What were your expectations going into the 2K league and how was anything different than what you thought going in?
CB13: Honestly what hasn’t been expected is not winning the championship yet. When I was drafted, if you look I was wearing blue and yellow and I manifested to go to the Warriors. This is the place I wanted to be and after that I wanted to hit the ground running.
I really believe that if you truly believe in something it’ll happen for you, I really think this year is the year that we’re winning. And obviously first we have to deal with the Pistons, but I honestly think they’re just a block in the road. I think they’re just trying to block what’s inevitable and we’re just gonna keep it going.
Wow you sound like Thanos! “We are inevitable”.
CB13: I just think this team is really that.
What’s the most challenging aspect of being an eSports athlete?
Gradient: Just how much pressure is on you every game. I mean honestly there’s a lot of pressure in any occupation or job, but each day is make-or-break. You could just have an off night and you might be benched the next day and lose your spot. It’s mentally draining day by day, you have to perform at the top of your level every practice just to make sure you’re hitting on all cylinders. Day by day you don’t know if you have a spot the next time you come into practice.
CB, you’re one of the faces of the 2K League. How long do you plan on doing this? What’s the future of an eSports athlete?
CB13: For me personally I take it year by year. I’m definitely playing this for at least two more seasons minimally, between 2-8 seasons min-max. But I definitely still love competing. As long as I love competing I’m gonna continue to do it, and as long as it aligns with what I wanna do I’m gonna keep doing it. I’m definitely committed and I’m looking forward to the growth of the league.
I feel like the advantage of the 2K League is that is basketball, so the average person can kinda pick up quick. They don’t have to figure out a whole new game. The average person can see that we’re still playing basketball, just virtually.
Hezi, as the rookie what advice would you have for anyone looking up to you and wanting to get into the 2K league?
Hezi: Honestly just grind. Don’t listen to what anybody else is gonna say, because they’re gonna say you’re on the game for too long. Keep grinding. At first I wasn’t taking it too seriously but once I decide to grind I knew I would make the league. I put my hours in; like I literally took it as a job. I get off of work and I’m straight back on the game already. Playing the same game 24-7, getting in every league I could get in, it’s just the grind. You just gotta put the work into it.
Gradient what was your first gaming console growing up and which game did you play to death?
Gradient: I think my first console was the GameCube? And I love Mario games obviously: Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario World. I think the first 2K I played was on Playstation 2. Maybe 2K2 or 2K3? I remember it had Allen Iverson on the cover and I played it all the time. That’s for sure my first memory of 2K.
Who is the best real life hooper outta you three?
CB13: Definitely me but Hezi is gonna say something else.
Hezi: He’s really just came on this article just to LIE?
CB13: Make Gradient pick!
Hezi: Gradient can’t pick!
Gradient: I’m not picking.
Hezi: Daniel you could just say we have a team of great ball players; we’re all great hoopers.
CB13: I’m gonna make a video of us playing and send it to you Daniel so you can see. Until then just write “to be continued…”.
To be continued… (until we see the tape). What’s your message to the Dub Nation members following your journey in the Bay playing for the Warriors?
Gradient: I’m blessed to get drafted by the Warriors organization, right? The best organization in the NBA. Coming into the playoffs we just wanna win for the fans. The Warriors are all about winning no matter what they do. So, losing the Finals last year put a sour taste in our mouth, we kinda revamped the roster and it’s all about winning the Finals and bringing it back to Dub Nation.
CB13: For me this place has kinda been a second home for me the last three years. Three seasons in a place you really get attached to the area, I really love the area and people that I’ve met out here even though Covid’s kinda hampered that a bit. The conversations I’ve had online have been with some really cool people. I definitely appreciate being on the Warriors; I feel like they have the best fanbase in the world.
And like Sam said, this is a team that expects greatness out of their organization. So really the message for me is I don’t want this opportunity to get squandered. I really do believe this team has the potential to win a championship and I’m not just saying that. We made some changes in the offseason that have really built up to this, and I really feel like this is the year for us, for sure.
Hezi: I’m truly grateful to work for the Warriors organization. This is the best organization and they have a beautiful fanbase. The fans really made me feel like home. This is my first time in the Bay and they made me feel like this is home, easily. I love it. I’m truly blessed even being the #3 pick and to come out here is amazing coming from New York to Cali. It’s any kids dream and anybody would want to be in my position. I’m truly blessed.
And the mission is to come in…clock in and clock out and get the job done for Dub Nation, because we’re all about winning. That’s what the Warriors are about and that’s what we’re gonna do: get it done.