Popular video game NBA 2K introduced its first player that is not an NBA athlete. In so doing, it scored a milestone for inclusion.
The company selected a teenager from Georgia, who came to their attention through Make a Wish Foundation. William Floyd, 15, has a rare genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness and heart problems. He cannot play basketball himself but loves to play through NBA 2K.
His wish was to visit the NBA 2K headquarters in Novato, Calif. While he was there, the engineers surprised him by having his body scanned for video animation and inclusion in NBA 2K20 player line-up.
"He went through the scanning process that’s typically reserved for NBA players and anyone who owns NBA 2K20 can play as William," said a spokesperson for 2K, which is a division of game developer Take-Two Interactive.
"We also wanted to make sure his game character represented his style of basketball—modeled after his favorite players Trey Young and Stephen Curry, William’s character specializes in shooting off pick and rolls and being a great dribbler."
Like the NBA greats, William visited the 2K Motion Capture Studio, where 140 motion-capture cameras recorded a range of movements. Facial expressions were caught by Pixelgun cameras. William even recorded a celebration dance that each player does before hitting the court.
"The key here is NBA 2K’s focus on fulfilling Will’s wish to the best of our ability," the spokesperson continued. "That includes the authenticity of how William is being represented in the game."