In between hitting the gym and sitting around waiting for the lockout to end, NBA players are starting to find more creative ways to take advantage of their free time. The newest example: Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward will be participating in a StarCraft II tournament—and not just any StarCraft II tournament, but the first one of its kind. The folks at IGN Entertainment provide the details:
NBA player and Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is trying his hand at professional video gaming (“eSports”) and has partnered with the IGN Pro League (IPL) – the professional video game league presented by IGN Entertainment, the world’s leading video games media company.
During this unique time in the NBA, in addition to his daily basketball training, Hayward is pursuing his passion outside of basketball – video games – and will compete in his first eSports event, IPL 3: Origins, taking place October 6-9th at Caesars Atlantic City. In his debut as professional basketball player-turned-video game player, Hayward will join top StarCraft II players from around the world to compete in the Atlantic City tournament.
“I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember. I’m a competitive guy, and I love the competitive nature of video games,” says Gordon Hayward. “Pro-gamers are really sports stars themselves. 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. I spend time each day on the court taking my game to the next level, and I am pursuing my passion for eSports. I’m excited to join the IGN Pro League and see how I do at the tournament in Atlantic City.”
In between his usual training for the NBA, Hayward is being prepared by the IGN Pro League coaches, some of the world’s top StarCraft players. Hayward will be one of the primary participants at IPL 3: Origins and will challenge global StarCraft II stars, including IdrA, Select and WhiteRa.
Players and fans who attend the Caesars Atlantic City event will witness Hayward playing alongside 256 other qualifying players to compete for a $100,000 prize pool.