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 â€” 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.
Dime: Did you guys ever create yourself in those games? Ever make yourself a different player than you were?
BJ: I was always the fastest, always made myself 6-5, 6-6 and just dominating everything.
GH: I think when I was younger I created myself, I think we all did.
Dime: Does hoops make you better at video games? Can you take anything from the one to the other?
GH: One thing is similar is it’s a lot mental. I don’t think people think that basketball is that mental but it is. And you need to know what your opponent is going to do. That happens a lot in video games. You need to know what they’re going to do and what they’re going to be. Video games make me mad sometimes.
Dime: Does hoops help you in video games when you’re down, knowing you can rally? I suppose you’re not down that often, though.
GH: I can get down just as easily. It’s just fun and a way to relax.
Dime: Brandon, was playing online a way to catch up with your friends when you were playing in Italy?
BJ: I had my little brother over there so we would play a lot. The whole time we’d be over there he would be playing. He fell in love with soccer, there was a lot of soccer in the house going on.
Dime: OK, what’s the ideal playlist to play a game like Call of Duty to? Or is trash talk the soundtrack?
GH: I just think that the trash talk is what I listen to. Music could be too distracting.
BJ: I think more the trash talk for me, if anything.
Dime: What are your offseason plans, Gordon? Back in Indiana?
GH: Right now I’m back home in Indiana. I started working out again. There’s a lot of guys in Indianapolis and I usually work out again them. We have a good thing. I’ll do a little of that and go traveling and go to different places.
Dime: What can you say about the Spurs having played against them?
GH: All I can tell you is they’re a pretty good team. They have that experience and they’re playing well.
Dime: Brandon, are you back in LA for good this offseason?
BJ: Actually I’m staying in LA. I just got back from China yesterday, so my hours are all kinda off.
Dime: So staying up to play video games till 5 a.m. probably was no big deal, huh?
Would you take on either guy in Modern Warfare?
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