Utah Jazz Forward Gordon Hayward Says Gaming Doesn’t Need Defending

Utah Jazz Forward Gordon Hayward Says Gaming Doesn’t Need Defending

Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward has had a bit of prominence in gaming circles for a while. Apart from the fact that his fantasy value is picking up rather nicely towards the second half of the year — I’m a bit peeved I didn’t draft him this year, really — the versatile 25-year-old is also well known for his passion for League of Legends.

He’s not the only basketballer to have an affinity for video games, but he’s certainly one of the most passionate publicly. The small forward has just begun a new gaming column for The Players Tribune, and he debuted by saying gaming doesn’t need defending from mainstream critics.

Hayward has had a pretty long association with gaming. He’s teamed up with Riot, IGN for videos about League of Legends; Rick Fox even segued from a discussion about working with his coaches to what Hayward thought about Doublelift moving from CLG to TSM.

The Jazz starter clearly doesn’t need any convincing when it comes to the merits of professional gaming. If anything, he’s a public advocate — and over at The Player Tribune, he furthered that reputation by announcing that whether people want to admit it or not, they’re gamers too.

Have you ever felt a certain rush when a perfect candy arrives and takes out multiple rows? You’re a gamer. Have you killed some time by flinging a bird into a rudimentary structure? Gamer. Have you moved even numbers around to make them add up to 2048? That’s gaming, bro.

Hayward’s column opens with a nice aside too. Brad Stevens, the current coach of the Boston Celtics, was Hayward’s coach when he was playing for Butler in the NCAA. Back then, Hayward had to ask Stevens for permission to play in a Halo tournament.

But what’s important about the piece is what’s not said. Hayward is a national figure within the NBA. He’s using the agency of a platform designed for professional athletes to speak with their own voice to champion not just professional gaming, but the value of gaming overall.

There’s a bizarre logic that if you’re willing to put in the time to become good at a video game, you won’t be willing to put in the time to become good at anything else. This complete nonsense regresses the conversation surrounding these thoughtful, challenging, advanced games that are consistently pushing barriers.

It’ll be interesting to see what direction Hayward takes with his column over the coming year. It’ll be fun to follow the Jazz for the rest of the year too: they’re currently 8-2 from their last 10 games, helping them just squeak past the Houston Rockets into playoff contention for the Western Conference.


  • Great article Gordon Hayward such a good example of guy who’s attitude and opinions have not changed when he was a college bball star he still had these same sentiments. I love the attitude that something like video games that can improve the quality of your life through enjoyment does not require defending

    • Lots of people, despite its prominence in everyday society.

      My fav are the US style scare tactic stories that cycle every now and then.
      “Mr Smith already had a long history of violence and crime, but sources tell us he once looked at a violent video game through a shop window, sending him in to a wild rage several years later”

    • Not a lot of people these days; when you become a multi-billion dollar industry and start throwing around that sweet advertising revenue, critics in the mainstream media start to dry up.

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