Many NBA players have signed contracts with overseas teams as the 69-day NBA lockout drags on, certain to wipe out at least some of the regular season. One player is joining a different kind of professional league.
Gordon Hayward (above left), in his second year with the Utah Jazz, wil compete in IPL 3: Origins, a StarCraft II event to be hosted by the IGN Pro League Oct. 6 to 9 in Atlantic City, N.J. Hayward and 256 others will be playing for a share of a $100,000 prize pool.
"I've been playing video games for as long as I can remember. I'm a competitive guy, and I love the competitive nature of video games," Hayward said in a statement. "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."
Hayward, who many fans remember for leading underdog Butler to an appearance in the 2010 NCAA national championship game, signed a contract paying $2.3 million annually after being drafted by Utah last year, according to the site Basketball Reference.
Committing to an event from Oct. 6 to Oct. 9 also is a revealing choice. The NBA's pre-season schedule, if it begins on time, begins Oct. 9. Utah has a game that day. And, at any rate, if they begin on time training camps would also be underway. Hayward's appearance may be taken to mean he doesn't think the NBA and its players will be able to unwind their disagreement any time soon.