Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19, but has been medically cleared. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
March 31 (UPI) -- Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell are among the NBA stars who will compete in a players-only NBA 2K20 video game tournament starting Friday and airing on ESPN.
Derrick Jones Jr., Trae Young, Harrison Barnes, Hassan Whiteside, Pat Beverley, Rui Hachimura, Devin Booker, Michael Porter Jr., Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Zach LaVine, DeAndre Ayton, Montrezl Harrell and Domantas Sabonis also will play in the 16-team tournament.
Players will be seeded for matchups based on their rating in the game and the length of their NBA playing tenure. Sources told Yahoo Sports that the players-only tournament is expected to last 10 days.
NBA games have been suspended indefinitely since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic after Mitchell's teammate, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19. Several more players, including Mitchell and Durant, also tested positive for COVID-19 after Gobert's diagnosis. Mitchell was medically cleared last week. Durant has said he feels fine now.
The NBA2K Twitter account has been tweeting simulated results from NBA games during the league's hiatus.
Durant will take on Jones Jr. in one of the matchups. Durant is the highest-rated player in the tournament. Young, the No. 2 seed, will face Barnes. Whiteside is a no. 3 seed and will face Beverley.
Mitchell has a first-round matchup against Hachimura. Booker will face Porter Jr. in the first round. Drummond will battle Cousins in his first game. LaVine, the No. 10 seed, will face Ayton. The final first-round matchup will feature Harrell and Sabonis.
Video game streams featuring sporting events have been gaining popularity during the pandemic.
NASCAR drivers have been competing in the iRacing Pro Series, which drew nearly 1 million viewers during its March 22 virtual event. NASCAR's second iRacing Pro Series event on Sunday drew more than 1.3 million viewers, breaking the record for the most-viewed esports event in U.S. TV history.