Dishing with Dimez, the #1 pick in NBA 2K League
Adrian Dy on May 22, 2018 02:31 PM
Photo c/o NBAE
The name on the birth certificate of the number one overall pick of the very first NBA 2K League draft is "Artreyo Boyd," but at this point in his life, he is more well known by his internet monicker "Dimez."
"No one calls me Artreyo [anymore]," Dimez said with a laugh. "Not even my parents!"
The NBA recently launched its newest venture, the NBA 2K League, an eSports league built around the popular video game series by Take-Two Interactive, and it made sure its participants got all the pomp and ceremony associated with its on-court hoops counterpart. To wit, Dimez's selection by Mavs Gaming with the first pick of the draft (and yes, there was a draft), was broken by ESPN info-meister Adrian Wojnarowski, and after a quick phone call with team owner Mark Cuban, his name was announced by Commissioner Adam Silver at the podium.
Mavs Gaming will select Artreyo Boyd, aka Dimez, as the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural NBA2K Draft, league source tells ESPN. Draft starts soon, with Commissioner Adam Silver at the podium.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 4, 2018
It was a bit of a surreal moment for the 23-year-old from Cleveland.
"Just hearing you say that, it's amazing. Because you know, we follow Woj to check up on our favorite players in the actual NBA, so for him to tweet out about me just like I'm one of them guys is amazing, you know?" Dimez said.
"And the call from Mark Cuban, it was real crazy too....Just to be sitting in the crowd, I had my phone on silent...so I look at the phone, [and] I have a text from Roger who is actually a part of the Mavs Gaming organization, and he was like 'Yo, answer your phone dude, Mark Cuban is on the phone.' I actually missed his first call, so I had to call him back! I'm just like, I'm going crazy, and it felt like 'Wow this is really happening. This is a blessing man. It's a blessing to be here."
Dimez grew up, like most basketball fans, playing the NBA 2K series, with 2K2 being his initial dip into the waters. He first started playing online with 2K9, and things just grew from there. "In 2K10 and 2K11, that's when I realized like, wow, I'm actually pretty good at this," Dimez recalls. "You know, because I had like the number one ranked team in the world, both years, back-to-back."
Dimez made the rounds of the competitive NBA 2K circuit, and once won as much as $250,000 in a tournament. But when the NBA announced that they were putting up their own, official league, Dimez knew he needed to be a part of it.
In order to become draft-eligible, interested players had to win 50 games in NBA 2K18's Pro-Am mode, and the submit an application to become part of the league's combine. The best of that bunch then formed the pool for the 2K League's draft.
"I already knew what I wanted to do. I knew that I was gonna be in this league, and that I was gonna do everything I can do to put myself in the best position to be in this league. So with no hesitation, I joined the combine immediately," said Dimez.
As the name might indicate, Dimez' play-style involves setting up his teammates and racking up assists. It's a bit uncommon, compared to the ranks of online players who typically try to create their own shot. But for Dimez, this is rooted in how he is as a real-life baller.
"I love passing the ball in real life," Dimez explains. "I love getting my teammates involved in real life, and I feel that just translated to the game of 2K too. I've always loved having the ball and just running the offense. I love making decisions, making the plays, and I feel like that's what I'm best at."
That goes without saying. In one pre-NBA 2K League game, Dimez handed out a whopping 55 assists. It's a feat that he's understandably proud of, even though he recently became the first player in the 2K League to score 50. "[55 assists], that's rare. Somebody can score 50 this weekend, they can surpass 50. It's very much more difficult to pass my 55-assist record," Dimez said. "I don't even know what the record is in the real NBA, but I doubt it was 55. That's more difficult to surpass, so I take more pride in the 55 assists by far." (The actual NBA record is 30 assists by Scott Skiles back in 1990).
Being the number one pick in the very first draft comes with some high expectations, but Dimez so far has handled them with aplomb. He recalled a recent game in the Tip Off Tournament when Mavs Gaming went up against Celtics Crossover Gaming, and his side was facing a huge deficit. "The whole time, they're just yelling and yelling...like they had already won the game. So the center on the other team was yelling at me, 'Why is he number one? Why is he the number one pick?' We come back from down 20 points and we end up winning the game by 7. So at the end of the game, it was just like, 'That's why I'm number one. That's why!'"
Off the court, Dimez also has all the responsibilities that come with being the first pick. He's drawn comparisons to LeBron James, since both come from The Land and boast impressive skillsets that shot them to the top of their respective drafts. "I think I learned a lot from him, just as far as being a leader and the off the court stuff as well," said Dimez. "My biggest thing is kids, when they see me and they're like, 'Hey man, I wanna be like you' or 'I made my player to be just like you, I wanna play like you.' I love that experience. To be an example, a walking example of how - just because you're kids playing a game, that doesn't mean they're wasting time."
"My father thought I was wasting time, but this whole time I was working towards something and I made him see it. Like I said, I'm a prime example [for] other parents who think their kids and children are wasting time but it may not be. This maybe something they [the kids] wanna do, that they can make a career out of it, you know?"
That's something Filipino fans of 2K might want to keep in mind. When Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum visited the country, he laid out the NBA's vision of the 2K League. Once all 30 NBA teams have a 2K League equivalent, which he predicts will happen within two years, the sky becomes the limit. Tatum said, "I think eventually we'll look to have teams outside the US participate. This to me could be a league that would be truly global in nature, and maybe you have a Philippines division, or you could have a team in Manila play against a team in LA."
"I always wanted to do something with NBA2K," recalled Dimez. "I didn't necessarily know exactly what, but I just knew if I keep at it, something would come with this. So, it seemed to work out." That's an ethos local 2K players might want to keep in mind, for when the 2K League expands internationally, and it becomes their turn to leave a mark on the game.
LIGHTNING ROUND QUESTIONS
Cavs or Celtics? - Cavs
Rockets or Warriors? - Warriors
Laurel or Yanny? - Definitely Yanny
Marvel or DC? - Marvel
Shaq or Barkley? -Shaq
Kobe or Jordan? - Jordan
You can check out all NBA 2K League games on their official Twitch channel