With season 3 of the NBA 2K League fast approaching, changes are on the way to the league’s winningest team over the past two seasons. Andrew Maxie was recently hired as Head Coach of Blazer5 Gaming, and will lead a team that features the past two league MVPs as they search for their first 2K League Championship. Learn more about Andrew, his background, and his coaching philosophy:
Tell us about your background with basketball and coaching.
ANDREW: I was born into the game of basketball. My family and the people around me were very involved in sports. My step father is Mr. Basketball in Odessa, Texas. Anything basketball oriented in the city definitely has his fingerprints on it. So I was lucky to have such a great basketball mind accessible in the next room. I watched film, attended every practice, every game. So my love for the game started early. I played all through high school, ended up playing my first two years of college ball in Dallas at a JUCO. I had a very successful career not only team wise but individually also. Two time 1st team All-Conference, two time 1st team All-Region, Freshman of the Year, conference MVP, region MVP, 1st team All-American, also nominated and participated in the NJCAA All-Star Game in Vegas. From there I got a scholarship to a four year school in Illinois where I was also named an All-American. After my junior year I gained interest from pro teams overseas and decided to skip my senior season and turn pro. I played in 6 different places: Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Macedonia.
The coaching transition came easy. I’ve always wanted to be a great coach. In 2014 I started skills training for 8 year old kids up to 22 year old college athletes. From there I got offers to join the coaching staff of a few AAU programs between Texas and Louisiana. During my offseason I would be working with the young ones on the AAU circuit, helping guys get scholarships while also networking and learning as much as possible for when it’s time for me to trade in my jersey for the suit and tie.
What’s your coaching philosophy?
ANDREW: My philosophy when it comes to coaching is simple: “The play doesn’t care who makes it.” The culture I’m trying to create is that of UNITY. I want everybody to not only play for themselves but for their teammates. The most important stat is to WIN. I’ve played on a lot of teams…. good coaches, bad coaches, talented teams, bad teams. The most successful teams I’ve been on all had one thing in common: we got along great. We cared about one another off the court, and that brotherhood translated to success on the court. Nobody cared about individual stats. Win and everything else will take care of itself. Teamwork makes the dream work. Cheesy but true.
When did you get into 2K?
ANDREW: I’ve been playing 2K since it was just 2K with Allen Iverson on the cover. It’s always been something that I loved. I’m a twin, so our household was very competitive and 2K was our battlefield. Every year 2K got bigger and my love for the game grew too. Traveling all around the country and eventually the world, the common icebreaker is NBA 2K.
What do you like most about 2K?
ANDREW: It’s like playing basketball without actually physically playing. I think thats what drew a lot of athletes into the game. I love 2K for what it has done for me in life. I’m from a tough neighborhood with a lot of distractions and my love for 2K made it hard to get involved with the wrong things. After basketball practice I was anxious to go home and play 2K. On the weekends while people were out drinking and partying, I’m home playing 2K. I’m icing my knees, drinking fluids and resting my body while playing 2K. I’ve even stolen a few moves from 2K animations. What 2K has done for me is the reason I love it. It made me better.
What excites you about getting to coach Blazer5?
ANDREW: Getting to coach Blazer5 is the dream I never knew would be possible. Growing up my two goals were to be a pro basketball player and be a Hall of Fame college basketball coach. I never even imagined 2K being a career choice. So when the league arrived I was ecstatic; getting the chance to combine my love for basketball, 2K, and coaching is mind blowing. It gave me a new dream, new goals, and a hunger I haven’t had in a while. I am excited for the opportunity to coach this amazing group of guys. They already have a winning culture and have proved to be a force in the league. It was important to me to be surrounded by like-minded individuals, so it excites me to be a part of an organization that shares the same values.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing this team heading into Season 3?
ANDREW: The biggest challenge we are facing this season is ourselves. Our fiercest opponent is the man in the mirror. It’s easy to doubt yourself or question things when the last 2 seasons ended the way they did. But you have to stay the course, remain positive, and stay engaged. Stay confident. Blazer5 is a championship team and everybody knows it. So the challenge for us will be staying focused on the grind to the trophy and not just focus on the trophy. Fall in love with the process, build day by day, grow game by game. Win the day. Everything else will take care of itself.
What do you think of the city of Portland so far?
ANDREW: Portland is beautiful. The weather is definitely going to take some getting used to, but adapting to new environments has turned into a strength of mine. Everybody I’ve met has been joyful and excited about the upcoming season. I’m also a huge food person, so I’m looking forward to gaining a few pounds with all the good eats.