Locked-out Jazz star now video game pro

BY foxsports • September 8, 2011

It's not the NBA. It's not even pro basketball overseas. But Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz will be getting his competition fix this fall just the same.

While locked-out NBA-ers such as Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets and Wilson Chandler of the Denver Nuggets will be dribbling and slam-dunking abroad during the league's labor trouble, Hayward will be competing in a professional video game league with IGN Entertainment, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City reported Thursday.

Hayward, 21, will compete in a StarCraft II tournament in the IGN Pro League from Oct. 6-9 at Caesars Atlantic City — one of an estimated 256 players going for a share of a $100,000 prize pool, the paper said.

"I've been playing video games for as long as I can remember," Hayward — who often tweets about his video adventures — 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. 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."

He's even receiving coaching from some IGN Pro League coaches.

The video game league has had 1.2 million unique visitors and 6 million page views in its online tournaments since launching this past April.



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