A welcome bit of news dropped this week that Texas Tech would be featured as one of the colleges that will be playable in NBA 2K21. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but it is. It’s great publicity for the university, and it’s a testament to the unfamiliar limelight Tech now find themselves in thanks to the meteoric rise of the basketball program under Chris Beard.
Now they’re positioned to reach beyond just the players who already have them on their radar. A very high percentage of athletes these days spend some of their free time gaming, and unsurprisingly, most of them gravitate to games about the sport they love. It certainly doesn’t hurt for them (and fans around the country) to see that Double T when they’re playing 2K21. Also of note, 2K21 is the only NBA video game releasing this year, as EA has all but given up on NBA Live following a few lackluster entries. Tech is a part of quite literally the only game in town, and that’s fantastic.
Tech enjoyed something similar recently thanks to Mahomes lighting the NFL world on fire. Madden ’20 featured a playable Texas Tech football team and Patrick himself on the cover. This was also the only NFL game released last year, meaning that Texas Tech was represented to anyone who played an NFL game last year or who plans on playing an NBA game this year. That’s huge for the athletic department.
Still, these features aren’t their first rodeo in the video game spotlight. Michael Crabtree was the cover athlete for the Xbox 360 version of NCAA 2010 following their unforgettable 2008 season in which Tech football was as good as it has ever been. The NCAA football game has since gone by the wayside due to player likeness and compensation issues, but it may return one day if that can be sorted out. Until then, it’s cool knowing that one of the last editions of it prominently featured a TTU athlete.
Media in general hasn’t typically gone out of its way to acknowledge Tech. The semi-remote location of Lubbock hasn’t done the university any favors, nor has the outright favoritism shown by a certain sports network towards a certain opponent in the conference with a network no one watches. Tech typically had to force the issue with a football season like in 2008, or with otherworldly athletes like Mahomes, or with a basketball program making the national title game.
It’s at these moments when it’s worth stopping for a moment to take note of it being a special time. While being featured in video games could be considered trivial in and of itself, it’s a reminder that Tech Athletics recently produced the best football player in the world and that the basketball program is one of the best in the country. Moreover, if there were a college baseball video game, Tech would surely be heavily featured there as well. These are good times in Raiderland, and with 2K21 putting the Tech brand out there to a wide audience, perhaps a few more people will jump on board. After all, the world needs more of the Double T in it.