Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward has been very open about his passion for eSports, and he now wants to help viewers who still don’t understand why watching people play video games has become ridiculously popular.
In an essay for The Players’ Tribune, Hayward concludes that confused traditional sports fans should stop worrying so much about the definition of a "sport," and instead recognize that the competitions share the same qualities.
The eSports movement mirrors traditional sports in countless ways. There are huge fan bases, rivalries, leagues, seasons, player trades, free agency and sometimes even promotion and relegation. More importantly, Hayward writes that though the rules and intricacies of each game are different, competitive gaming provides him the same sort of satisfaction as playing basketball.
"I think I was initially drawn to serious gaming for the same reasons I was drawn to sports: I’m a naturally competitive person. I enjoy being placed on an even playing field against a competitor and trying to outperform them. It drives me . . . 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."