Skip to main content

Ronnie Singh, better known to NBA 2K fans as Ronnie 2K, never expected his love of the NBA to eventually turn him into a basketball influencer. While Singh’s own career trajectory surprised him, the franchise’s sudden growth into a “worldwide phenomenon” was what really shook his world. What started as a couch co-op game where you could play against friends as your favorite teams evolved into a life simulator, where building up a sports star sits alongside managing a music career and life as a social media personality.

“I don't think there was a plan to turn me into an influencer,” he says. “[Mine] was just an authentic point of view. It started with community forums and with the growth of social media and influencer marketing, now I'm kinda the intermediary [for] our community, [which] includes big-time celebrities and athletes.”

His career followed a similar path. The growth of social media and marketing made it clear to him and 2K that “people really like being competitive and talking smack online with a persona instead of a brand.” It’s all about personality – on the court and off, in the game and outside of it.

It’s a brand that lets players step into the franchise like few others, allowing them to truly experience the basketball star lifestyle. They can play as themselves or an original creation, manage endorsements, develop their social media presence, and, obviously, help lead their team to victory. Basketball is just one part of the story.

NBA 2K isn’t the only sports series to try building immersive experiences with franchise modes. Madden NFL and FIFA have both tried their hand at something similar with varying degrees of success, but Singh believes NBA 2K stands out for its ability to build personal connections with the fans and NBA stars.

“I'm a huge NFL fan, but you don't really know those guys because they wear helmets,” Singh says. “The NBA have done a great job of storytelling around the stars. You don't care as much about the Lakers anymore. You care more about Lebron and other stars, you know their endorsement deals, their family life, when they're moving houses.”


These kinds of celebrity stories and lifestyles are what resonate with fans, to the point where, combined with a robust social media presence, Singh says it’s become an integral part of the NBA. And so has the game. Younger athletes consider making their debut and rating in NBA 2K an important milestone.

“A lot of the guys that come in the league now have literally played the game their entire lives,” Singh explains. “It sounds bold to say this, but I've had conversations with a lot of the young guys where they say getting drafted in the NBA is ‘dream 1A’, and being in NBA 2K is ‘dream 1B’. So every detail, like ratings, hair, their tattoos in the game – all of that resonates with them, because a big part of being in the league is being in the video game as well.”

On top of that, NBA 2K’s relationship with the sport goes beyond helping new athletes make a name for themselves. It’s also a kind of living history museum for the NBA.

“Mark Cuban said that 2K does more for basketball education than even the NBA,” Singh says. “[It allows you to] connect to historical figures. Do you want to know who the best player is? There's a lot of discussion of Lebron, MJ, and Kobe, but our game is the only one that allows you to play them all in their primes and have that conversation with real-world examples.”

It doesn’t even stop when athletes age out. NBA 2K also helps retired stars find new fans even after their playing days are over. These days, Michael Jordan is less active in the endorsements space and mainly focuses on managing his team, the Charlotte Hornets. But Singh says the game helps drive Jordan’s sneaker business and emphasizes his historical significance to the sport for a younger generation.

“2K's place in the ecosystem is to educate and inspire basketball fans of all ages and to spur the discussion of basketball from the inception all the way to the great stars that live in the present day,” he says.