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As esports have become more and more mainstream, they are beginning to see more overlap with the sports world. Two NBA teams embodied this fact earlier this week, as they revealed their schedules for this season in gaming-based videos.

The Utah Jazz created a video featuring Notey, an anthropomorphized version of their jazz note logo. They released the video on December 4. As the Jazz revealed each of the teams they would play this season, Notey traveled into different video game-inspired worlds. For this video, the Jazz went for a retro gaming feel.

Notey first visited a world seemingly inspired by NBA 2K Playgrounds (an obvious game for a basketball team to choose). The NBA team also paid homage to esports like Street Fighter and Pokémon in their gaming-based video. In addition, the Jazz parodied games like Mario and OutRun in the reveal.

Another NBA team with a gaming-based schedule release

The Portland Trail Blazers also used a gaming theme for their 2020-21 NBA schedule reveal, which released on the same day as the Jazz’ video. Like the Jazz, the Trail Blazers went with a retro style for their video. They referenced fewer competitive games though, instead focusing on iconic casual gaming experiences.

The Trail Blazers’ reveal video parodied old-school classics like Pac-Man, Excitebike, Sonic, Donkey Kong, and Tetris. Additionally, it included references to the arcade shooter, racing, and beat-em-up genres. All the while, it showed off gamified versions of Trail Blazers’ players and Portland’s pinwheel logo.

Overall, the intermingling of the sports and esports worlds is an ever-increasing trend. We previously saw an example of this when Twitch launched their sports category over the summer. These gaming-based NBA schedule reveals by the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers are just some of the latest examples of this trend.


Dylan Tate is a student in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.


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