Gordon Hayward could make a little extra money during the lockout playing in Europe. Or maybe as part of some exhibition tours through Asia.
Or, as a professional video game player.
That last one is actually happening. We bring you this from the Deseret News (via Eye on Basketball).
The 21-year-old Utah Jazz player has joined a professional video game league with IGN Entertainment. Hayward will compete with other eSports video athletes in a StarCraft II competition from Oct. 6-9 at Caesars Atlantic City in the IGN Pro League.
“I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember,” Hayward said in a news release. “I’m a competitive guy, and I love the competitive nature of video games. “Pro-gamers are really sports stars themselves,” he added. “The mental strategy that goes into planning your next move and what your opponent is going to do are skills you need to be successful playing basketball — and playing StarCraft II. If you want to be good, you have to put a lot of time and effort into it, just like with other sports. I’ve got the best of both worlds.”
In case you are not a gamer, Starcraft is a multi-player strategy game set hundreds of years in the future. It’s a legendary game in the industry. I’m no expert and I’m not going to try and explain that universe to you, go check out the wiki yourself.
The thing is, even if there was no lockout Hayward could do this because it would not violate his contract. Now, if Jerry Sloan were still the Jazz coach he would just slap Hayward for this, but Tyrone Corbin is far more forgiving.
But the first bad game Hayward has this season, you can bet the “nerd gamer” is going to hear about it.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.