Just a few years ago Alex Bernstein (Yorba Linda HS) was playing college football for the Hornets, and now he is playing for the NBA... 2K League as a pro.
Yes, Alex "Steez" Bernstein is playing professional basketball for the actual Philadelphia 76ers' team in the esports league. Playing small forward on a successful team that just won the season's first tournament, Bernstein is virtually jump-shooting his team atop the rankings.
In its inaugural season, the league is the first of its kind as it is an official esports league operated by a U.S. professional sports league... the National Basketball Association.
A live draft was held at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on April 4th, where each NBA team drafted six players from the eligible draft pool. Out of 72,000 gamers in the pool, Bernstein made the cut and has been working with his new team in Philadelphia 76er facilities. The team lives in their home market during the season and flies into one or two central studios each week for competition.
Not your average gamer, Bernstein physically excelled on the football field. In fact, he still owns the Fullerton College record for the longest punt return (88 yards in 2012). After graduating from FC, Alex went on to play football on scholarship at Northern State in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Now that he has turned in his cleats for a video game controller, Bernstein is making the best of this new sports realm that is gaining more and more attention worldwide.
According to the NBA 2K League, the global audience for esports is expected to reach 557 million by 2021. This includes 250 million esports enthusiasts and 307 million occasional viewers (Source: Newzoo, 2018). A number of NBA teams, owners and former players are already looking to the future of the esports industry and are investing in esports franchises/holding companies.
It's an interesting sports world we live in as the times are changing in a big way.
Once a Hornet, always a Hornet!