Blog Entry

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

Posted on: September 7, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 7:18 pm
Posted by Ben Gollivergordon-hayward-dork

Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward isn't playing professional basketball overseas during the lockout. Instead, he's taking his talents to a galaxy far, far away. reports that Hayward will be playing video games professionally.
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. Hayward is excited to be among 256 players shooting for a share of a $100,000 prize pool in IPL 3: Origins.

"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."
Reeeee-orrrrr. Reeeeee-orrrrrr. Yes, that's the sound of your nerd alert being activated. It is a good thing Hayward waited until after Jerry Sloan retired to announce these plans. For everyone's sake.

But, wait, there's more. Hayward was asked in a promotional video interview to compare the stress of playing professional video games to the stress of the NBA. His response.
"I think you've got to look at the circumstances of each. If you're winning a Starcraft game for the championship at IPL for the six-figure pool prize, that's probably pretty stressful ... At the same time, if you're going to shoot a three-pointer to win the game with someone guarding you, that's pretty tough too. I'd say they are both tough in their own right."
The video and others can be viewed on Kristen Sharbaugh's account.

Well, not to go all Charles Barkley on you, but we have officially reached the point where we know for a 100 percent fact that the NBA is too soft. When a 21-year-old, 207 pound forward doesn't immediately recoil in horror when asked to compare the stress and rigors of the NBA to a freaking science fiction video game we know that the NBA game has been cleaned up too much.  If a Zerg attack really gets his blood pumping as much as a game-winning shot, that's a terrible look. We don't want to live in a world where this can be true, do we?

I guarantee that no NBA player in the 1990s ever said, "That karate chop from Ryu was pretty much the same as the haymaker Charles Oakley hit me with last night." Or, "Oh man, jumping off that hill in Excite Bike was so exhilarating it reminded me of the time Jeff Van Gundy prevented further chaos by clinging to Alonzo Mourning's leg." Never happened.

Hopefully Hayward's interview gets entered into evidence in the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations so we can turn back the clock and undo this embarrasing chapter in the history of the league.

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:36 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

Mr. Golliver:

I'm going to assume that, like me, you aren't both a pro-basketball player and a pro-Starcraft player.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  I'm neither one, personally (I've not read your bio yet, so I'll assume that you're at least a former pro-basketball player that I've never heard of, that'd at least give you some credentials here.)  Between the three of us, only Gordon has actually done both of these things at a professional level, so even with your great and illustrious career with the NBA for which you shall never be forgotten, I believe that only Gordon has the experience in both fields qualified to compare whether or not they are similar.

I also think it's hilarious that you're comparing Starcraft, a game where a typical round can take over an hour, to Street Fighter and Excite Bike, games that can end in less than three minutes.

Before the mentality came about that "sport" needed a ball to be used, the word could be interchanged between any leisure activity, be it soccer, football, card games, darts, hunting, or pretty much any sort of game with rules that people could compete in.  Video game playing is an extension of this.

...and I've just noticed that his photograph in the article calls him a dork.  Seriously, did you write this between stuffing freshmen into lockers?  Even if you can't be impartial, could you at least try to be polite the next time you write something like this?

Please apologize to Mr. Golliver.  I'd ask you to apologize to the egamers out there too, but I can see where you might not see that you've done anything wrong.  "I was just messin' with him" is a popular justification for so many things.

Since: Dec 31, 2007
Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:34 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

Is being ignorant CBSsports business strategy or what's going on here?
I used to think Pete Prisco was bad, but I just found a new low.

Gordon Hayward on the other hand gained a new fan.
You're a hero!

We need a NBA vs NFL SC2-showmatch, get Chris Kluwe on the phone!

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:26 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

This whole article is full of jock mentality and shows an outdated sense of certain things in the world.  There's a reason esports is taking off.   Competition.  Whether you're on the court or sitting at 2 computers, people love to see amazing competition.  The stigma given to video gamers as being lazy, basement dwellers is becoming a thing of the past.  Research the topics you openly mock in the future.  I don't doubt that you have a strong grasp on the knowledge of sports but you apparently don't have the slightest idea what esports is and would do well in the future to research topics you decide to make fun of.

Since: Aug 1, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:21 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

I dont think street figheter paid 100,000 dollars to the winner. i applaude you Gordon Hayward. you are now my hero

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:13 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

Sounds like someone is jealous.  I know I am.  I wish I got to play professional sports for a living and enjoy some video games in my free time.  

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:10 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

I don't agree with how many posters responded in the sense that there was immaturity in their responses. However, your blog post is absolutely absurd. Starcraft 2 scene and gaming scene in general are bringing in more and more revenue every year and eSports is growing faster than a wild fire in california. You really should do your homework before you discredit something.

A few points I would like to make, studies have shown that sports and eSports are relatively the same. Maybe not in the pure physical aspect but definitely mentally. It has been shown that alpha waves of a sports player while playing a sport and an eSports player while playing a game are relatively the same and in some cases the eSports player actually emit more alpha waves.

Secondly, MLG brought in more than 32 million* hits on their online viewing streams and GOMtv has also produced a lot of hits as well. Basketball is mainly a national sport with a very limited viewing audience where as a Starcraft 2 tournament appeals to many different generations and nationalities as well.

To outright compare video games is ridiculous. That's like comparing basketball to baseball, which in my own eyes are two very boring sports. Basketball is filled with all of it's little drama's and over-paid players.... and is lsoing it's popularity quickly.

"We don't want to live in a world where this can be true, do we?"

Are you serious with this comment? These professional gamers are just devout as any sports player out there practicing and continually working to get better. Starcraft 2 is like any sport out there, one wrong move, one tiny mistake could cost you the match and a chance of winning a lot of money. Playbooks are created by these players just as any professional sport out there, these are practiced over and over and over.

What's embarrasing is this article, embarassing that CBS allows you to post this kind of slander and poorly written article. You know what's embarassing? A player getting accused of sexual assault. God forbid a player decides to play a video game in his free time, oh what an outrage! Oh Kobe? He's a great guy despite his arrogance and the fact that he was accused of rape and gave the nba a bad name for the negative publicity!

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:58 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

I am now a Gordon Hayward fan.

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:29 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

If a Zerg attack really gets his blood pumping as much as a game-winning shot, that's a terrible look. We don't want to live in a world where this can be true, do we?
Well, I for one can live with it.  However, I'd much rather live in a world where repelling a Taiidan assault or taking down a Hiigaran Battlecruiser with just a Destroyer and a handful of attack bombers is comparable to a game-winning shot.  Starcraft is great, yes, but is it really so much more deserving of the RTS limelight than Homeworld?!  If I were Ben Golliver, that's what I would complain about with my fancy articles.  Homeworld FOREVER!!! Yeah...

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:23 pm

Gordon Hayward to become pro Starcraft player

I'm not sure if this blog is a space for you to do some light-hearted, tounge-in-cheek commentary, or a place where more traditional reporting with journaistic integrity takes place. If it's the latter, quite frankly, you should really be embarrased with this post. I hope my reply can give you some sort of insight into a topic you seem quite unfamiliar with.

As I made my way through college pursuing a journalism degree, my dream was to one day sit on the sidelines at professional sporting events and cover them for a major publication. I am a die-hard sports fan, and have played sports competitively my entire life. I am also an avid gamer and a huge fan of the competitive gaming scene. Luckily for me, Major League Gaming put out an ad hiring writers the week before I graduated. The rest is history. I am now an eSports journalist, and I couldn't be happier.

Enough about me. I'd like to go over a few of the flaws I saw in your article.

It is very unlikely that Gordon Hayward is on his way to becoming a professional gamer, especially in Starcraft 2. He is participating in the IPL3 Live Event via open registration, and there is a 0% chance he will place in the money (but don't think we won't all be rooting for you Gordon!). The road to becoming a successful professional Starcraft 2 player requires a strict training regiment and intense dedication with slim chances of making anywhere near the money that an NBA Lottery pick makes.

The best Starcraft 2 players in the world train for 8-12 hours a day, and many of them live in "team houses" with several other players who do the same. There's no way that Gordon has the time to train at a level to become a world-class professional Starcraft 2 player and play basketball professionally at the same time. Competeing in this tournament is something he's doing for fun during the lockout while millionaires argue with billionares over more money than most people will ever see in their lifetime.

On to another point. There's a reason Gordon "doesn't immediately recoil in horror when asked to compare the stress and rigors of the NBA to a freaking science fiction video game". He said it himself, he's "a competitive guy". I am too. I've felt the adrenaline rush of taking a game winning shot with defenders in my face, watching with anticipation as the ball arcs toward the rim. I know the nerves of steel required to stand over a knee-knocking eight-footer for eagle and sink it. I know what it's like to wish I could dislocate my shoulder if it meant gaining an extra inch of reach to get a football over the goal line for my team in a state playoff game.

I also know what it feels like to have a Zerg army overrun me like a raging flood, fearing that if I'm half a second off or misclick once during any of the 50 or so actions I'll be exectuting over the next ten seconds that the game is lost. I know what it feels to have my fingers blazing at 300 actions (keystrokes) per minute, managing a growing economy and streamlining production while, at the same time, splitting an army to fight on multiple fronts. Showcasing your skills and performing well under pressure is what competitive people LIVE for, no matter what the game or activity. Starcraft 2 is a game that requires an immense amount of focus, as well as mental and physical dexterity to play at the highest level. Gordon knows that, and it's why he doesn't downplay the "stress and rigors" associated with playing it.

Finally, I'd like to give you a brief glimpse of how big competitive gaming is, and how it is continuing to grow. Major League Gaming recently partnered up with IMG, one of the largest marketing and representation businesses in the world, with the goal of global expansion. In the press release regarding the partnership, IMG mentioned that the video game industry brought in more than $50 Billion of revenue in 2009. Those are HUGE figures that bring in sponsorship money from multi-billon dollar corporations. Hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously watch live professional Starcraft 2 tournaments that are streamed online, and thousands of fans show up to the live events to cheer their favorite players on. I can guarantee you that the attendance at MLG's live event in Anaheim was close to or better than some of the Washington Wizards games I've attended over the last few years.

On behalf of the competitive gaming community, I'm sorry for some of the outright hateful comments you've received for this post. But I hope you took note of some of the more constructive replies and take them to heart. If anything you've seen the passion that the Starcraft 2 community has, as this post has received far more comments than any of your most recent ones.

If you're interested, John Gaudiosi is a contributor for the Forbes blog "Game On", which provides alot of great insight into the world of competitive gaming and the video game industry as a whole.

Take care.


Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:21 pm
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