Mootyy Mootyy

In all likelihood, Mootyy will be a first-round pick at the inaugural NBA 2K League Draft on Wednesday. Forbes projects the gamer to go No. 2 to CLTX Gaming. Either way, Mootyy will get paid. First-round picks in the NBA 2K League will receive $35,000 while second- to sixth-round picks will get $32,000.

Watching from afar will be some of Mootyy's acquaintances back in his hometown of Yorktown, Virginia. They might recognize Mootyy as Mitchell Franklin, the kid they picked on. Who's laughing now?

"Playing 2K was kind of an escape from everyday life, not being able to fit in, being short and chubby," Mootyy remembers. "I experienced bullying from my actual friends. NBA 2K was a great escape for me where I couldn't be judged and really showed off my skillset. It was a toxic friend group."

Sports were an escape for Mootyy, 24, both virtually and physically. He played soccer at York High School and Thomas Nelson Community College before transferring to Radford University, where he is studying sports administration (taking the current semester off). He hoped to join Radford's soccer team, but instead, he became infatuated with bowling.

"I became sponsored, pro-amateur, I was traveling, I considered going professional into bowling," Mootyy recalls. "I really thought that was gonna be my next step, but 2K took over."

Mootyy says he's been playing NBA 2K since NBA 2K9 and in recent years, he's been playing on the pro-am circuit, although he does not yet have the social following as some of his contemporaries. Mootyy and his team, Throwdown, made themselves known in February 2017 when they qualified for the final of the NBA 2K17 All-Star Tournament, which featured a $250,000 grand prize. The squad was flown out to New Orleans, where they fell to Still Trill, 75-58, in front of a group that included Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Aaron Gordon, C.J. McCollum and Hannibal Buress.

Mootyy's efforts got him an article in the Radford newspaper. But that wasn't enough to overshadow the loss, something that still drives Mootyy over a year later.

"I think I'm the best overall player on and off the court, the best value pick, period," he says. "My potential and what I can bring overall skill wise to the table, in terms of my 2K skill, but my professionalism, my marketability, my vocal leadership and just my maturity. I feel like I'm more ready for this league and prepared than anyone. You can't find many guys who are mentally stronger 2K-wise going from the highest of highs -- hitting the game-tying shot to take your team to the $250,000 Finals -- to going to the lowest of lows, losing the biggest game of 2K you could possibly lose with life-changing money."

On the other side of that New Orleans final was Still Trill's leader, Dimez (who most recently played for Breakout Gaming). Dimez is the unofficial No. 1-ranked NBA 2K League prospect, just ahead of Mootyy in most mock drafts.

"We're real close," Mootyy says. "He DMs me like every day. He used to be a point guard. We won a lot of money together."

But don't get it twisted. Just because Mootyy and Dimez respect each other's game doesn't mean they'll be soft on the sticks. Considering it is almost impossible they will play together in Year 1, they have to get that through their head.

"I'm definitely going to be gunning for Dimez and all the guys who beat me just because of how tough it was and coming up short," Mootty says.

"We have a pretty close relationship off the court and friendship, but on the court, everyone's an enemy who's playing against you."

Mavs Gaming holds the first pick with CLTX Gaming, Jazz Gaming and Kings Guard Gaming following. The glaring difference between Dimez and Mootty is their position. Dimez is a point guard. Mootyy is listed as a power forward and he thinks teams need to wake up to the necessity of grabbing a talented big man early.

"I feel like actually a power forward or center -- I actually would rather play center in the league, I just thought one of the builds at power forward was a better fit for the system to bring winning to the table," he says. "I feel like the point guards, no disrespect to them, they're only gonna be able to do so much being with a 6-3 guard when they're used to being 6-5, 6-7, 6-10.

"I can completely be played through offensively, I can be the primary scorer if needed, but I definitely see myself being the defensive anchor and vocal leader because I pride myself on shot-blocking and rebounding."

In short, Mootyy wants to position himself as a big man who can shoot. Remind you of anyone?

"Kristaps Porzingis," Mootyy says when asked to compare his game to an NBA player. "I feel like I'm the best shooting big man in the world and potentially the best catch-and-shoot player. I don't know a lot of other bigs like that who can shoot and have the potential and capability Porzingis brings.

"Everyone wants to run five out. If your bigs can't shoot, the spacing is going to be terrible. Having bigs who can hit a mid-range jumper or 3-ball is going to be huge because in 2K, spacing matters more than in actual basketball."


Although he grew up in Virginia, Mootyy absorbed most of his sports fandom from his father, a Cape Cod native. He is a Celtics fan and  started playing NBA 2K9 because of Kevin Garnett's appearance on the cover.

"I don't have a preference team-wise," he says. "It'd be pretty awesome to get drafted by the Celtics, being such a diehard fan, but I really want to be on a team that's the best situation for me and a team that values me and believes in me the most."

In the meantime, he's been training light -- about 2-3 hours a day, as opposed to the 8-12 hours he was logging most of the past year. A lot of his current training involves watching game film, but he has popped into some of the (secret) pickup games "The 102" NBA 2K League Draft prospects have been organizing.

"I've been trying to stay low-key," he says. "I've been in the lab. I've played in a couple, like three or four, and I actually had Dimez as my point guard for one of them."

Dimez and Mootyy? That's a scary sight to see. They also have played in a couple recent games for Breakout Gaming together.

Fortunately for the 17 NBA 2K League teams -- all owned by NBA teams -- none will have to go up against that. The two stars will be split up Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

In a few months though, it would not be surprising to see them meet in another final.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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