Players-only NBA2K tournament provides outlet for Heat's Derrick Jones Jr

Shandel Richardson

With the exception of dunking or his impressive shoe collection, Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. rarely brags about any basketball-related.

So it comes as no surprise that he's kept his NBA2K prowess a secret. Until now.

Jones is one of 16 NBA players competing in the video game tournament that will be broadcast on ESPN at 7 p.m. Friday.

"I don't like to brag about my game but I'm pretty good at 2K," Jones said on a conference call with reporters in advance of the event. "I've just been playing 2K all day long. It's really the only thing I do."

Aside from spending time with his children, Jones has used the video game to pass most of the time while enduring the league's 30-day suspension because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm very excited," said Jones, who won the NBA slam dunk contest during All-Star Weekend in February. "Just being able to compete right now at this time and point with everything going, you can't go outside the house that much and you've just got to be isolated, it's just good being able to go back and have fun again."

Jones is the No. 16 seed and will face top-seeded Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. Seeds are based on a player's rating on the video game. The other participants include: Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Hassan Whiteside (Portland Trailblazers, Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings), Patrick Beverley (Los Angeles Clippers), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers), Michael Porter Jr. (Denver Nuggets), Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards), DeAndre Ayton (Suns), DeMarcus Cousins (free agent) and Montrezel Harrell (Clippers).

"You get to have the players out there interacting with each other again," Jones said. "It's something that's going to be good for everybody, just to be able to watch us again doing something and not just us being at the house. It's being ourselves ... They get to see us playing video games, being kids and just enjoying our time." 

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