Dayton native enjoys most successful season yet in NBA 2K League

Ivan Curtiss has coached Nets Gaming Crew in Brooklyn for three seasons

Ivan Curtiss knows his way around New York City now, especially Brooklyn, after three seasons as head coach and general manager of Nets GC (Gaming Crew) in the NBA 2K League. At his heart, though, he remains a Daytonian — as his most recent Instagram post shows.

In a photo Curtiss shared Monday, he’s wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Just a Kid From Dayton.”

“I’m still Ivan from 4542 Prescott Ave,” Curtiss wrote in the caption. “If you ever get OG KING CURT and Ivan confused, we are probably not as cool as you thought we were. No accomplishment will stop me from being proud of where I came from. Dayton, Ohio, created OG KING CURT. Now I’m just reaping the benefits. I love all of those from my city who have supported me from the start, those who joined and those who will.”

Curtiss, a 1997 Dunbar High School graduate, has spoken to the Dayton Daily News each year since 2019 when he built on his love for online video games and his involvement in NBA 2K leagues by getting a job in the NBA’s new Esports venture.

Curtiss talked in 2019 about how he got his nickname, which he uses on social media. OG stands for “Original Gangster,” or old school. Curtiss was then and remains one of the oldest members of the NBA 2K League. Most of the players are decades younger.

“I don’t think I’m aging,” Curtiss said last week. “I turned 43 this year. These players keep me youthful and definitely on my toes.”

In the first season for Nets GC, Curtiss led his team to a 7-9 record. In 2020, his team finished 8-8 in 2020 and made the playoffs for the first time but lost in the first round. In 2021, Nets GC had its best season yet, finishing 16-12 and reaching the Eastern Conference finals before being swept in a best-of-three series by Wizards District Gaming in August.

The Wizards then beat Jazz Gaming in a three-game sweep to claim their second straight championship.

The playoffs, which were held remotely in 2020 with each team playing in its home city, took place at the Mavs Gaming Hub in Dallas, Texas, this summer. Teams sat across from each other as they played the game.

Although this was the best season yet for Nets GC, Curtiss knows the goal is a championship.

“As a competitor, you never want to take any type of moral victories if you can help it,” Curtiss said. “The expectation was for us to be competitive and make the playoffs and see what we could do from there. A lot of people in the beginning didn’t foresee us making a run or being as good as we were. We proved some doubters wrong and exceeded what we thought we were going to be. Everyone doesn’t make it that far every year. For us, to do it in our third season is phenomenal.”

Curtiss coached and managed a roster of six players, including Josh “Choc” Humphries, who was a finalist for the league MVP award, and Connor “Shotz” Rodrigues, who represented the team at the first NBA 2K League All-Star game last weekend in Brooklyn. Curtiss traveled back to Brooklyn for the All-Star game as well.

Curtis revamped the roster for his third season. Humphries was the only returning player. Rodrigues had played for three other teams before joining Nets GC.

Nets GC works out of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn during the season. That’s also where the Brooklyn Nets, who had the second-best record in the Eastern Conference last season, play. Curtiss has played NBA 2K with one of the Nets’ stars, Kevin Durant, and the Esports team sees the NBA team as a big brother of sorts.

“It was a great season for them,” Curtiss said. “It was motivation for us because we came after them.”

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