Ballarat gamer Meason Camille will be the first Australian to play in the NBA 2K League after he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons last weekend.
Mr Camille was taken with the 62nd pick in the NBA 2K League draft by the Pistons' gaming affiliate Pistons GT.
The 2K League is the NBA's esports competition where teams represent NBA franchises such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls and compete in popular basketball video game franchise NBA 2K.
The achievement caps off three years of hard work for Mr Camille, who said it was all still sinking in.
"When it happened, I'd never felt like that before, it was crazy," he said.
"I've been doing it for the last three years and I missed out the last two years. It's something that I know that I'm good enough to play at the elite level and it's something that I've been sticking at for a while and when you finally achieve that goal, it's absolutely incredible."
Mr Camille's love of basketball started well before he ever picked up a controller, starting his junior career at the Minerdome at five years old.
Like many children his age, that love translated to playing the virtual version of his favourite sport but soon went further than that when he realised he could make a career out of it.
Once he started to get serious about becoming a professional gamer, Mr Camille began to travel to the NBA 2K League's Asia-Pacific invitational events in places like Hong Kong and Seoul, South Korea, eventually leading him to be drafted to the league.
Before the season gets underway in May, Mr Camille will pack his bags and move to Detroit to train and play with the team in-person for the duration of the season before returning home, hopefully with a new contract for the 2022 season.
Mr Camille said for the last eight months, he had been putting in nine or 10 hours a day into the game.
"Even more depending what day. It's literally like a full-time job. The hours do change but the amount of effort that I've put into this is crazy. The same that you would train for basketball or football, it's basically treated like a full-time job," he said.
With Pistons GT headquartered next to the flesh-and-blood Pistons' training facility, Mr Camille said he hoped to be able to connect with some of the players, many of which are gamers themselves.
"I'm pretty stoked. To be able to connect with the actual Detroit Pistons at some point in time is incredible. I'd love to watch them play, it'd be incredible," he said.
Mr Camille, who plays primarily as a centre or power forward and likened his play style to a combination of Shaquille O'Neal and Dirk Nowitzki, said he hoped to learn from the team's veterans.
"Hopefully, we can learn off them and hopefully, we come up and be playoff contending team," he said.
"I think I'll be starting as a sixth man for that team... play that versatile player and slot in wherever the team needs me."
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Pistons GT general manager Adam Rubin said the team had started scouting Mr Camille at the league's first Asia-Pacific invitational two years ago.
"After watching Meason for over two years and seeing the growth and increased dedication to making the NBA2K League, we were dedicated to ensuring he became a part of the Pistons GT family," he said.
"Year after year, we have seen an increase in the talent pool coming out of Australia and the region and are excited to have Meason in Detroit soon showing the rest of the league why he belongs."
Mr Camille had previously played Call of Duty competitively but said he hoped to make the NBA 2K League his full-time career and play in the league for multiple years.
"I know the league is growing and there's going to be more teams, hopefully, coming from overseas... and that means more players and so just playing in the league would be something that would be absolutely incredible," he said.
With the move to the States, naturally comes some concern about the country's COVID-19 situation.
Mr Camille said he was somewhat nervous about the move.
"I'm pretty nervous, to be honest, because we've got it pretty cleared up at the moment, but, look, if I'm cautious and able to be wary of it, then it should be fine. I should be alright."
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