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Pro gamer from Wayne competing for Knicks in NBA 2K League
Wayne’s Adam Kudeimati was picked from a pool of 70,000 players nationwide to represent the New York Knicks in the inaugural NBA 2K video-game league.
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WAYNE — Adam Kudeimati’s wish to be a pro gamer for his favorite team turned from virtual reality to reality the moment his name was announced.
“With the ninth pick of the fourth round in the 2018 NBA 2K League draft,” said Brendan Donohue, the league’s managing director, ”Knicks Gaming selects ‘iamadamthe1st,’ point guard from New Jersey.”
Kudeimati, 19, was drafted for the inaugural season of the eSports league that features the world’s best NBA 2K players; “iamadamthe1st” is his gamer-tag. He was among 102 gamers picked, out of a pool of 72,000 players.
“The Knicks were the only team I really, really wanted to go to,” said Kudeimati, a 2016 graduate of Wayne Hills High School.
“To be drafted by my home city, by my favorite team – it was just really cool,” he added. “I was really happy when it happened.”
NBA 2K is distributed by New York City-based Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., which partnered with the NBA to form the league. Seventeen out of 30 NBA franchises are fielding teams this season, though the league reportedly has plans to expand.
Kudeimati, who is earning a salary of $32,000 for the four-month season, has a chance to win an additional $100,000 – or more – in prize money. He also was offered medical benefits, while he and his five teammates get free food and lodging in Jersey City.
Kudeimati said he has quickly become close friends with his teammates, who hail from the Bronx, Detroit, Houston and Milwaukee. His eldest teammate is 26.
“We’re starting to build a lot of chemistry, on and off the court,” Kudeimati said. “There’s a really good mix of personalities. As the season goes on, we’re only going to get better and better – each and every day, we’re striving for that.”
Kyle Rudy, 24, the Knicks Gaming coach, said he has been impressed with Kudeimati’s ability as a player and work ethic.
“He’s really coming into his own,” said Rudy, a native of Millbrook, New York. “He’s turning heads, and he’s becoming a key piece of our team.”
The coach said Kudeimati was receiving positive attention from several gamers – even the opposition – at a tip-off tournament this week.
Games are played at Brooklyn Studios in Queens.
Although Knicks Gaming did not win the tournament, Rudy said, the team is looking forward to its first regular-season contest against Warriors Gaming Squad on May 11.
“We’re going to go back and watch film of them to see what we did wrong, so it never happens again,” Kudeimati said, referring to the tournament games.
Kudeimati said each gamer controls a single virtual player and that the five-on-five game mode is meant to mimic real basketball.
Games are played on Windows PC, but Kudeimati said, gamers can use PlayStation or Xbox controllers. He said he prefers the former.
Kudeimati takes online courses at Penn State University. He said he has hobbies, besides gaming, and that he wants to be an actor and move to Hollywood.
An amateur photographer and videographer, he launched a YouTube channel called “ThatKiddKuda,” when he was 10. It now has more than 311,000 subscribers.
Kudeimati also has more than 68,000 followers on Twitter and in excess of 22,000 followers on Instagram.
He said young men and women should not have to give up education to pursue gaming.
Jerry Ferrara, the Brooklyn native and actor, who is known for his role as Turtle on the hit HBO series, “Entourage,” is creative consultant and head scout for Knicks Gaming.
Kudeimati said he looks up to Ferrara, who now is cast as a lawyer in the Starz series, “Power,” because they both love acting, gaming and the Knicks.
“He’s a really great guy to be heading the entire operation,” Kudeimati said.
NBA 2K League games will be live-streamed on Twitch, a video platform owned by Amazon.com Inc.
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