Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is lending his name to his second biggest passion.
Hayward will participate in IPL 3: Origins, a "StarCraft II" in-person video game tournament that will be held Oct. 6-9 at Caesars in Atlantic City, N.J.
“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 press release. “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. I spend time each day on the court taking my game to the next level, and I am pursuing my passion for eSports. I’m excited to join the IGN Pro League and see how I do at the tournament in Atlantic City.”
Hayward is being prepared for the tournament by IGN pro league coaches and some of the world’s top StarCraft players. He will be one of the primary participants at IPL 3: Origins, and will challenge global StarCraft II stars, including IdrA, Select and WhiteRa.
Hayward will compete with 256 other qualifying players for a $100,000 prize pool.
“Gordon Hayward’s participation in the IPL and the Atlantic City tournament confirms the growing popularity of competitive gaming in the U.S.,” said David Ting, general manager of eSports and vice president of research & development at IGN Entertainment. “Video games will continue to be a dominant entertainment medium, and this event shows how professional gaming can become just as popular as mainstream sports.”
The Atlantic City event marks the first time an IGN pro league tournament will be held as a live event. IPL 3: Origins, as well as past IPL tournaments, can be accessed online at http://www.ign.com/ipl.
Brian T. Smith