Thursday, December 8, 2022. SOHO Loft, Manhattan, New York. – The American Express x NBA 2K23 Gaming Lab partnership event is a four-day immersive pop-up experience in SoHo that began December 8-11, and gave fans a literal shot at sharpening their 2K skills on and off the court with one on one lessons from coaches and game experts. Day one of that 4-day activation was held on a chilly Thursday evening in Soho. A loft started heating up in preparation for the American Express x NBA 2K23 Gaming Lab. In attendance to the cool event were media press outlets, game enthusiasts, social media brand influencers and diehard fans of the NBA 2K franchise.
The event featured a Fireside Q&A chat moderated by producer, famed NBA 2K host and gaming influencer Alexis Morgan. Alexis is an engaging, humorous and astonishing host whose resume includes experience in live show and studio hosting, as well as covering A-list red carpet celebrity events here in New York City and as far out as Los Angeles. American professional basketball player for the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association, Sabrina Loneus, one of the interviewed panelists, shared her admiration of the new NBA 2K23 game upgrades that now includes teams and players from the WNBA.
She also revealed that her favorite part about the game is “playing as myself because a lot of her moves in the game are similar,” she also added that it’s coaching her along the way in her styling, “…oh I might need to tweak that move a little bit”. The skilled athlete continued on to say that though she loves gaming with her brothers, but that the reality is that she spends most of her time playing and staying conditioned on the court.
Kristopher “Kris” London, English-American YouTuber known for his basketball and gaming videos, and member of the NBA-focused web group 2HYPE, was the second featured panelist for the Q & A with Alexis during the Fireside Q & A. When asked the question, “What do you like most about [NBA] 2K ?” Kris shared that the game allowed him the opportunity to express himself and that the game has allowed him to showcase his passion for gaming, basketball, and allowed him to expand his audience online. He also mentioned that his favorite features on the new release is “this year’s drip”, and that he couldn’t wait to spend the remainder of the weekend at the American Express x NBA 2K23 Gaming Lab, “taking names”.
His light hearted banter was centered around the lab gaming areas stationed on both walls that lead up to the court. Several small hubs ran along a long side of the event space with two chairs on the left and right viewing angles of a large screen television for the guest to test the NBA 2K23 game. At each hub, digital-gaming coaches were available to aid onlookers and participants in upping their gaming skills on the 2K platform.
My favorite station at the gaming activation was The Highlight Hub. The Highlight Hub was a large interactive half court where fans followed a lit pathway on the floor of the court to recreate the iconic shots programmed in the NBA 2K23 Game. Remaining guests sat court side engaging with the charming hospitality team, enjoying tasty chicken bao buns, brisket sliders, caprese skewers, refreshments and other mouthwatering hors-d’œuvrs. The lively crowd cheered on the courageous ball players who voluntarily performed on the court for 60 seconds to make as many successful free throw shots through the hoop as they could before the buzzer brought their scrimmage against the time to a halt.
The event was a hit! All NBA 2K fans in attendance and streaming via Twitch for the American Express x NBA 2K23 Gaming Lab, received a complimentary POAP digital certificate to commemorate their experience. American Express card holders received special perks in the form of NBA 2K23 locker codes to improve their in-game avatar’s skill level. Fans in attendance were also given the opportunity to get their sneakers cleaned by Jason Markk (founded by Jason Mark Angsuvarn in California), a top of the line shoe product and accessory brand that creates products for sneaker maintenance.
On Saturday night of the event when rapper, Jack Harlow, joined the event as an on-site guest, alongside comedian, Druski, NBA 2K23 on a Twitch livestream. It was definitely an awesome event and one that I’ll do my best to catch on the next release of NBA 2K and American Express.