Among the numerous reasons why video games are popular in the larger society, here’s a few why they’re a hit in the NBA:
When your profession is working out, it doesn’t require effort.
When you’re naturally competitive, it’s another outlet to be so.
Away from home often, they can put you in touch with your friends — while still trying to blow them up (actually, maybe this one covers general society, too).
Either way you break it up, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Jennings and Utah Jazz’s Gordon Hayward are two players who take to video games often. Whether it’s a first-person shooter or a sports title, the pair met up at Activision’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Grudge Match for on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Team Jennings finished the day beating Team Hayward in the traditional multiplayer maps game.
Dime caught up with them to talk about the offseason and all things video games.
Dime: Gordon, you talked about playing video games professionally during the lockout. How long have you played?
Gordon Hayward: I’ve been playing videos game as long as I can remember. It’s just another outlet for that. It’s just a lot of fun to play with friends. I think it’s good just to relax sometimes. We spend so much time on the court that is something a lot of us are competitors and you can just relax and sit on the couch. It kind of helps you unwind a bit.
Dime: Brandon, you’ve got your go-to moves on the court, but how do you play in Modern Warfare?
Brandon Jennings: I’m always hiding in the corner just waiting for guys to pop up. That’s usually how I win my games.
Dime: Are video games big on your teams?
GH: I think there’s a few of them that play Call of Duty. A lot of them have families, though, and probably can’t play as much as they’d like.
BJ: I don’t know too many guys on the team who play video games but last night a bunch of my friends, 10 guys, were up till about 5 in the morning playing Call of Duty.
Dime: Who’s the best?
GH: That’s probably up for debate. I’d get in trouble saying it’s one guy.
Dime: Do you ever play against fans online?
BJ: For me, I really don’t play a lot online. Just a bunch against my friends because I like to beat up against them and they get my confidence up.
GH: I have actually put my handle on Twitter before and played against fans. We said if anyone beat us we’d give them tickets. It’s just fun to involve them and get them talking about the Jazz, too, while doing something that’s fun. We never lost; we didn’t have to give out any tickets for that.
Dime: Gordon, you played tennis and basketball growing up, so did you play sports games much?
GH: I never actually played sports games that much. For me it was better to play the sports and make it reality. It’s hard to play it virtually when it’s our profession. I always just stuck to the first-person shooters.
Dime: Brandon, what kind of games did you play?
BJ: Oh yeah, a lot of NBA 2K and Madden. Those are the main games for me. And a little FIFA lately.