These days, Anthony Morrow’s likeness is more beloved than he is.
People in NBA circles know the nine-year NBA veteran and former Charlotte Latin star as a dependable guard off the bench. Defenses know him as a lethal shooter with his 41.7 career 3-point percentage – the 13th-best mark in NBA history.
He’s also a booster for the PrimeTime Players, one of 16 regional teams competing at Queens University this weekend in The Basketball Tournament, a 64-team tournament with a $2 million prize.
But Morrow owes his cult-hero status to the NBA 2K video game series.
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He’s never been the highest-rated player in the game, or anything close, but that hardly matters. Much like his real-life counterpart, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound shooting guard can make any team better with his game-breaking shooting, and he comes at a decent price with low maintenance. Virtual Morrow is the quintessential video game cheat code.
“My 2K guy is more famous than I am,” Morrow said this week.
The Charlotte native is a fan of the NBA 2K franchise, spending most of his time in the game’s “MyGM” mode. He doesn’t sign himself to a cheap deal like most gaming veterans would – he says it’s weird to play as himself in his free time.
“But when I do actually play against my friends, I use myself,” Morrow said, “and shoot on them every single time.”
His video game ratings weren’t born from thin air. Morrow has never started more than 50 games in an NBA season, but he’s ranked in the top 10 in 3-point percentage five times – including his first season in 2008-09, when he led the league with a 46.7 percent mark as an undrafted rookie with Golden State.
Morrow’s career 3-point mark ranks fifth among active players, just ahead of longtime sharpshooter J.J. Redick, who signed a reported $23 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason. A payday like that wouldn’t have been possible in Morrow’s prime, before the NBA’s new television deal kicked in and ballooned the league’s salary cap. But for Morrow, seeing his peers find new homes and cash sizable checks is wonderful.
“Thank God for the TV deal,” he said.
For now, Morrow remains on the open market after playing with Oklahoma City and Chicago last season. The 31-year-old guard sat on the end of the bench with the Bulls to end the year, but coming into his 10th season, he says his body feels great and jokes about playing another 20 years.
Morrow has taken a tour of both the Eastern and Western Conference during his nine seasons in the NBA. And while he says this offseason’s mass exodus of players from the East is shifting the power, there isn’t as much anxiety at this point in his career about where he lands. He said he isn’t calling his agent every 10 minutes like he might have earlier in his career – he just wants to be in the right city for his family, which is currently in Charlotte.
“I've got a lot more going on now,” he said of family obligations.
This weekend, Morrow will be a booster for the PrimeTime Players, a Charlotte-based team that made the Round of 16 two years ago and has won six straight championships between the East Coast Basketball League and the Tobacco Road Basketball League.
Morrow said he’s played against guys from the PrimeTime Players in Charlotte’s Pro-Am summer league, which he sponsored for years. Now, he’s putting his money behind their team.
“I wanted to do something to try to help them out,” Morrow said, “to sponsor those guys and hopefully get them an opportunity to win that $2 million.”
Want to go?
What: The Basketball Tournament, South Regional.
When: Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.
Where: Levine Center at Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Ave.
Tickets: $20 for adults, $10 for students and $5 for kids 16 or under. A weekend pass is $30.
C Jackson Cowart on Twitter: @CJacksonCowart
The Basketball Tournament players to watch
DeJuan Blair, PF (Overseas Elite): He's 6-foot-7 in shoes, but the former NBA All-Rookie forward was an effective rebounder in four seasons with the Spurs before injuries derailed the final three years of his career.
Jeremy Evans, PF (Kentucky Kings): Evans, a longtime rotation player for the Jazz, only started nine games from 2010-16. But he flushed two basketballs at once to claim the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest.
Josh Selby, PG (Brothers Dat Ball): Selby was named the 2012 NBA Summer League Co-MVP – alongside then-rookie Damian Lillard – but the undrafted Kansas star averaged just 2.2 points in two NBA seasons with Memphis.
Marshall Henderson, SG (Ole Hotty Toddy): Henderson was a lightning rod in his two college seasons at Ole Miss, drawing as much attention for his All-SEC play as his off-court conduct.
Errick McCollum II, PG (Overseas Elite): McCollum – the older brother of Trail Blazers guard and Overseas Elite booster C.J. McCollum – was the 2015-16 EuroCup MVP and the top scorer in the first-tier Chinese Basketball Association in 2014-15.
Larry Sanders, C (Ram Nation): The 6-foot-11 forward oozes potential, but injuries and substance abuse marred his five-year tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks. He played five games with the Cavaliers last season.
Eric Maynor, PG (Ram Nation): The North Carolina native (Raeford) has always been a reliable distributor, averaging 2.8 assists off the bench in five NBA seasons after averaging 5.2 assists at Virginia Commonwealth.
Jamie Skeen, PF (Ram Nation): The former North Mecklenburg star was a two-time all-state selection in high school and led Virginia Commonwealth to the 2011 Final Four as a senior.
Dijuan Harris, PG (PrimeTime Players): As a sophomore at Charlotte, the 5-foot-9 Victory Christian graduate recorded 223 assists, second most in 49ers history, while playing a school-record 1,146 minutes (37 minutes per game).
Al'Lonzo Coleman, PF (NC Prodigal Sons): The Charlotte native starred at Vance before becoming Presbyterian's first career 1,000-point scorer since the school's transition to Division I.
C Jackson Cowart