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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette alum delivers Bucks Gaming 1st NBA 2K League Title

Photo by John Leuzzi
Marquette alum Patrick Glogovsky is the general manager of Bucks Gaming, the Milwaukee Bucks NBA 2K League team.

Patrick Glogovsky remembers when he made his proclamation. 

It was November 2021, the Milwaukee Bucks were holding a ring ceremony for its employees inside the atrium of Fiserv Forum after winning its second NBA Finals. The 2020 Marquette University graduate walked up to take his photo with Bucks President Peter Feigin and General Manager Jon Hurst.  

“I said to Peter, ‘the next time that we’ll be up here will be for Bucks Gaming,’” Glogovsky said. “And he said ‘sounds good.’” 

It was bold. He had just taken over as General Manager of Bucks Gaming, the affiliated NBA 2K League team of the Bucks, and was working to rebuild a team that went 6-22 the previous season. He also didn’t even have a head coach. 

It was meant to be a joke — until it wasn’t. 

Led by Artreyo Boyd, also known as Dimez online, Bucks Gaming won its first NBA 2K League Championship Aug. 27 defeating Wizards District Gaming, the affiliated team of the Washington Wizards, in the finals.

“It’s surreal,” Glogovsky said. “Bringing it back to Milwaukee meant so much to me because I love how we have such pride … Milwaukee is a very proud city, it’s a very blue-collar city and we’re so proud to be here.” 

The 411 on the 414’s team

The 24-team NBA 2K League, which started in 2018 with 17 original teams, is the eSports affiliate league of the NBA. The NBA runs it in collaboration with Take-Two Interactive, the developing software of NBA 2K.

There are many shared rules and operational structures between the 2K League and its traditional sports equivalent, including a draft.

Glogovsky said most of his pre-draft process consisted of scouting players across social media platforms, specifically Twitter or Twitch, attending 2K amateur tournaments and the 2K League combine.

The draft itself, which takes place in February, resembles a fantasy football keeper league draft. There are three to four rounds and each team must retain at least two (but up to four) players from its roster. 

The remaining assets, or draft picks, are determined by how many players a team retains. A team cannot exceed more than five assets. The draft pool then consists of players who were not retained or become draft eligible by winning preseason tournaments hosted by one of the teams. 

Three days after the draft, the season tips off lasting from March to August.

But when Glogovsky first took over full-time as GM in December, he wasn’t even worried about the draft. He first needed a head coach to lead the team. This led him to Lance Sessions.

Glogovsky said Sessions is “extremely involved” in both practices and games. Practices take place at the Bucks Gaming facility, an undisclosed confidential area in Milwaukee, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., six out of seven days a week. 

“On a daily basis, he’s here with our players every day … just like a traditional coach,” Glogovsky said. “He’s instructing the practices, guiding the drills, guiding the scrimmages we have and he will work individually with our players to make sure that they’re grinding the right skill set and honing their correct skills.” 

During games, Glogovsky said Sessions will call plays and set strategies on his headsets, just like an actual NBA head coach would do from the bench during games. 

“People who don’t watch 2K would be terrifically surprised at how similar it is to real basketball,” Glogovsky said.

The main game format is five-on-five, similar to traditional basketball, and instead of controlling actual NBA players like Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo or LeBron James, gamers control a specific and unique character of their own. 

Each game, which lasts 30 to 40 minutes, is part of a tournament. Over the course of the season, there are four tournaments that take place. Each tournament begins in a round-robin format played remotely in each team’s respective city. The two top seeds from each group then advance to bracket play, which was held this year each time in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bucks Gaming made it to bracket play each of the four times this season. 

“That was a huge accomplishment for us, especially for a young core like us, ” Glogovsky said.

Glogovsky (center) with Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin (left) and General Manager Jon Hurst (right) at the Bucks employee ring ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Glogovsky.)

At the trade deadline, Glogovsky acquired Dimez from Raptors Uprising GC, the affiliate of the Toronto Raptors, for Tyler “Plondo” Lay. He called the trade good for both sides as Dimez filled holes on the team that Plondo couldn’t.

“And we got exactly what we wanted, a veteran, a very vocal leader that knew how to play all positions, knew how to command the offense but also the defense,” Glogovsky said.

Making just its second playoff appearance in franchise history, Bucks Gaming advanced to the Western Conference Finals of the NBA 2K League Championships with wins over Mavs Gaming (2-0) and Warriors Gaming Squad (2-1). 

In its conference finals matchup against T-Wolves Gaming, it was David and Goliath. Glogovsky said T-Wolves Gaming was looking like the best team in the league. 

And as the biblical story goes, the No. 3 seed Bucks Gaming took the series 2-1 advancing to its first NBA 2K League Finals appearance. It was after this series, Glogovsky said, he had a feeling something special might happen.

“When we beat the T-Wolves, I broke down and started crying because I was like ‘I think we can win the championship,'” Glogovsky said. “And for that to happen, it was just so amazing.”

The playoff run was turning David into a Cinderella Story.

“It’s being called the greatest run in 2K history because we beat the ticket winner, beat the second seed, beat the first seed and beat the back-to-back champion,” Glogovsky said. “And this is all by a brand new team led by a brand new coach, that went 6-22 last season. It was surreal and an incredibly valuable experience to our culture.”

“Dream come true”

Glogovsky said one of his cousins and best friends introduced him to gaming at a young age. 

He then discovered eSports when he got into League of Legends and watched a pro tournament at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.

“From there I discovered all types of different eSports and loved it,” Glogovsky said. “I played sports my whole life and to see the parallels between the two was just mind blowing.” 

He said when he started at Marquette in 2017, there was only one thing he wanted to be part of  a gaming club.

This led him to join the League of Legends Club on campus, which he rebranded to Marquette Gaming and Esports later that spring when he took over the club.

It soon became a hot commodity across campus with nine competitive teams and around 140 active members at its peak, Glogovsky said. 

This was noticed by the Marquette Athletics administration, as the club became a varsity eSports team for two years and competed in the Big East in both League of Legends and Rocket League tournaments. 

Glogovsky said he wouldn’t be where he is today without Marquette Gaming and Esports.

“(It) is the most important thing to me in my life. It changed my life and changed my career trajectory,” Glogovsky said.

Some college students fantasize about their dream jobs after college. Glogovsky is no exception.

After a visit to the Bucks Gaming facility his sophomore year, he took a Snapchat of the team’s logo and captioned it “Please God let me work here when I graduate.”

Glogovsky’s snapchat story from Sept. 12 2018. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Glogovsky.)

Five years later, Glogovsky said it is a “dream come true” to have that fantasized moment fulfilled.

“To be given this platform and to be given this opportunity is so unique and I’m so grateful for it because the Midwest is like an eSports desert,” Glogovsky said. “The fact that I can do my dream in my backyard is just surreal. I went to school here, didn’t have to move to LA where it’s $5,000 a month for rent, or didn’t have to move to New York where your commute is an hour each way. I did it in Milwaukee, my home.”

The future

As for what the future entails, Glogovsky said he knows exactly where he wants to take Bucks Gaming.

His first project entails expanding an eSports organization underneath the Bucks since the NBA owns the Bucks Gaming intellectual property and restricts Bucks Gaming to remain within the 2K League.

Glogovsky said the Warriors are a prime example of this goal. Their eSports organization, Golden Guardians, have multiple teams that are able to compete in different eSports titles.

Other ideas include bringing their facility to a public-facing venue for a one-stop shop experience for eSports consumerism and becoming the first eSports organization to run major tournaments. 

“I just want to bring an entirely different idea of eSports to Milwaukee and I know we can do it, it’s just about how long it’ll take us to do it,” Glogovsky said. “I’ll die here before that goal dies here.”

This story was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.

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