SAN ANTONIO — Retiring from the NBA 2K League is likely not on 76ers GC's Dayne "One Wild Walnut" Downey's radar but he feels the league is in a good place thanks to the influx of great talent.
"Absolutely there's new talent and they're young guys," said Downey at the 2021 NBA 2K League All-Star Game. "Look at the talent! The [Pacers Gaming] rookie, 630. He's 19 years old and he'll most likely be getting the MVP in my eyes."
From 630 to Utah Jazz Gaming's Splashy, the league is seeing a rise in top-level players.
Downey notes that rookies, like 630, play in a way he's never seen in his four seasons of NBA 2K League experience.
And he's glad the new players are following the path he set when he joined the league in its inception.
"What that kid  does on the sticks [controller] is insane. To have people like that representing the league the right way, being an elite player on and off the court that's huge for me," Downey said.
Said Downey: "Knowing I've been consistent. Knowing I've been a part of this league in a big way for four seasons means a lot to me. I hold that very highly."
Not to be ignored but the Los Angeles-native has left his stamp on the league.
He's the league first MVP (2018) and a Defensive Player of the Year winner (2018). He's considered one of the best centers to play in the league and his efforts in the 2021 season earned him a spot on the All-Star team.
Whenever the day comes he decides to walk away from the game, the league and the new generation of players will look at him as a trail blazer.
But retiring is obviously years from now and Downey is thrilled to be a part of the league's growth and remaining competitive against the youngsters.
"Having rookies coming in... this is all signs for good growth in the league," said Downey. "Each season is going to be more and more competitive."
It seems the veteran still has some lessons to hand out to the league's fresh-faced player on the virtual court next season.
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