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.
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.