Two women with basketball backgrounds were selected in the recent NBA 2K League draft. The professional e-sports league that was co-founded by the NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software has 23 teams with six players each competing as unique characters in five-on-five play.
Alaina “DjLayyy” Haney, who was selected 28th overall by Celtics Crossover Gaming, the affiliate of the Boston Celtics, is accustomed to being in male-dominated, high pressure situations. A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Haney is an air traffic controller.
“You have to see the court and have an open eye,” said Haney, who played point guard in high school and AAU travel ball. “My degree plays a part because I have to see the traffic in the sky, make sure that airplanes are separated at a certain amount in the air. [Be aware] of the speed of the aircrafts. Also, remaining calm. [In gaming] if my team is down, having that confidence we’re going to come back.”
Ziah Minor, selected 52nd overall by Mavs Gaming, affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, played at the Division I level at Alabama State. She first played NBA 2K with her father when she was 12.
“My athletic background prepared me in the sense that I always knew that there was a next level for me to try to achieve when it comes to my game play,” said Minor. “When it comes to the sense of having a good idea of basketball, I’ve always had that. Having played, it catapulted my abilities, drive and determination to keep getting better.”
After the first-ever female draftee in 2019, Chiquita Evans, no women were selected in the 2020 draft. The NBA 2K League revamped its Women in Gaming initiative, in which both of this year’s draftees took part. “We got to play with and against league players,” said Haney, who proudly showcased her abilities.
Seeing Evans drafted, Haney became very interested in joining the league, putting in the work to improve her gaming skills. She actually started her own all-women’s team, playing tournaments, defeating a top tier team and getting recognition on social media. Minor also worked hard to make a name for herself.
Haney and Minor will soon be heading to their respective gaming cities. They’ve already been in touch with their new teammates. “We have great team vibes, I feel comfortable and I’m excited,” said Haney. Minor said she expects her team to be a playoff contender. She is also excited to inspire girls and women to dream big. “Being able to be motivation and a push in the right direction,” said Minor.