Albano Thomallari transforms into an eSport athlete and finally gets his parents to embrace the sport
Published 3:00 PM, June 23, 2018
Updated 3:00 PM, June 23, 2018
STAR. Since getting drafted as the second overall pick in the inaugural NBA 2K League, Albano Thomallari (right) has blossomed into one of the league’s craftiest playmakers. Photo from NBA 2K League
MANILA, Philippines – Who would’ve thought a video game can change an individual’s life drastically?
Just ask Albano Thomallari.
Thomallari usually got a pretty good scolding from his parents for spending most of his day playing the best-selling video game NBA 2K. Back in his hometown Missouri, NBA 2K sometimes occupies almost one-third of his daily activities.
But since being drafted in the inaugural NBA 2K League and getting paid handsomely to play the game, Thomallari’s parents seemed to have turned over a new leaf.
“I didn’t think it was going to be like this, like I play video games in my parents’ house and they’d get mad at me,” Thomallari told Rappler in a conference call facilitated by NBA Philippines.
“And now, like they’re laughing, they love it because now, I make the most money in the house now. [They say,] ‘Keep on going.’ This is crazy. I didn’t think it was going to be like this.”
The 21-year-old American, drafted second overall by Celtics Crossover Gaming, the Boston Celtics’ NBA 2K League affiliate, once bussed tables at a restaurant back home.
As a professional 2K athlete, he is assured of a $35,000 paycheck during the 6-month season along with medical insurance, housing costs and a retirement plan.
2K fans can watch Thomallari on the live streaming juggernaut, Twitch, and just like this, he is getting his own feature story. (READ: From Uber driver to NBA pioneer: Shaka Browne dazzles as 2K League star)
“It feels great, I didn’t think it was going to be this big like I’m doing interviews, I’m meeting great people. I really feel like a part of an NBA team and just traveling with your brothers and stuff, it’s just crazy. I love it right now,” he said.
‘No one can outwork me’
Now that he is in the big leagues for NBA 2K players, Thomallari sure plans to become a household name.
And he is showing it in his play as he now leads the league in assists with an astounding 17.8 assists, which is almost 5 assists higher than his closest rival. He also has averages of 16.9 points and 2.4 steals.
“I think 2K is getting bigger. There’d be more NBA teams next year and more people watching and more people enjoying it,” Thomallari said of the NBA 2K League, which currently has 17 teams competing against each other.
“It definitely got people’s attention and I see myself in this league for a very long time. Like no one can outwork me and my work ethic is crazy. I plan to be in this league a long time.”
Thomallari has been playing NBA 2K since the game’s 2009 edition and for those aspiring to become just like him, he has one simple tip: “My message is keep on playing.”
“I don’t do anything special, no one does anything special or something that anyone else can do. All we have is repetition and knowing what’s going on.”