In the world of esports, few stories are as inspirational as Tim “oLarry” Anselimo.
oLarry got his professional gaming career started as a Madden player before adding NBA 2K to his games list. In 2018, he was drafted 25th overall by Buck Gaming in the inaugural NBA 2K League draft, where he averaged around 14 PPG and 6 RPG.
His life changed forever when he attended a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, where a mass-shooting took place. oLarry was shot four times in the chest, hip and hand. He recovered, although the wounds to his hand raised concerns on if he would be able to continue his career.
His recovery was chronicled by ESPN, in which oLarry went through intense physical therapy (including changing the way he held his controller) and returned to professional NBA 2K play. His recovery and return to top level play was the winner of the ESPY’s Best Esports Moment.
oLarry has since signed with Cavs Legion Gaming, where he has played the last two seasons. Season 3 was especially dominant for him, with oLarry finishing 10th in rebounds and 8th in blocks in the league.
We had the chance to ask oLarry some questions about NBA 2K as an esports title, his incredible journey, and how he trains to stay at the top. Check it out!
Let’s start the basics: What made you want to make the jump from a casual 2K player to the competitive scene?
oLarry: After competing in some small online tournaments, I realized that I was good enough to compete with the best and win.
Whether it’s Madden or NBA 2K, there are tons of little things that most viewers won’t recognize that are crucial at high-level play. How did you go about practicing and learning these games to get yourself to the highest level of play?
oLarry: It is essential to watch tons of film; this includes watching other pros, streamers, YouTube content and other outlets to try to perfect and improve my craft.
The world of 2K esports titles differs in many ways from other types of esports games (MOBAs, fighting games, etc.) What do you think makes 2K esports so appealing? What would be the main selling point of this genre if you were to pitch it to someone who’s interested in getting into esports?
oLarry: It is much easier for people to relate to and enjoy without having any advanced gaming knowledge, since it’s just a game of basketball.
The preparation and film study incorporating unique designed plays and other advanced team sport techniques are all at play, such as defensive shifts and off-ball plays.
While we play these games because we love them, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our gripes: what change would you make to the 2K series to enhance it further as an esports title?
oLarry: It would be great for more in-game content to support and spotlight the 2K League a bit more and give it more recognition to the game’s millions of users.
In 2019, you won the ESPY’s Best Esports Moments for your incredible comeback after the Jacksonville Landing shooting; you sustained serious injuries, but after intense rehab and therapy, you returned to top level 2K play. How have things been in the two years since then? What is your outlook on your life and career?
oLarry: I learned to cherish everyday like it can be your last. It is important to always tell your family you love them, to focus on your own mental health, and to take care of your body.
Aside from your play, you’ve been growing your brand with personal speaking engagements, such as the 2019 USF Esports Summit. What are these appearances like? What message do you like to bring when speaking for someone or an audience?
oLarry: I enjoy these appearances on panels because it gives me the chance to educate people in different spaces about esports and professional gaming.
After Buck Gaming, you’ve spent Season 2 and Season 3 with Cav Legions Gaming. What has this organization meant to you?
oLarry: I’ve learned a lot from both organizations, including on how to grow not only as a player but as a marketable professional and leader.
While you’re known for your play in 2K, what other games do you enjoy playing? Are there other competitive games that interest you, and that you think you could do well in?
oLarry: Warzone is my favorite game outside of 2K.
COVID has shaken up the entire world, and esports is no exception. How have you adapted your life to the pandemic? What are you looking forward to as we try to open things up more and more?
oLarry: The live events in esports create an unmatched atmosphere, and I can’t wait to get back to it.
Finally, with the recent wave of sexual misconduct and harassment in streaming, content creation, and various competitive esports communities, what role do you think public figures and organizations have in setting a better example for the future? What do you think needs to be done to create as welcoming and safe a community as possible?
oLarry: I think more people can focus on paving the way toward fairer and equal treatment of women in gaming; they can be better than most males in gaming with the same preparation, and they deserve that same respect and recognition.