Connect with us

Boston Celtics

NBA notes: Gordon Hayward a real gamer

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins reportedly makes an amount approaching $1 million per month as a so-called Twitch streamer.

Audiences that have been known to top 100,000 people – think of a virtual crowd that exceeds the capacity of Wembley Stadium – while watching this 26-year-old savant play Fortnite on the internet. He’s struck up a friendship with Drake, the hip hop star who also loves the video game, and they have played each other in front of Twitch audiences – Twitch being an Amazon-owned live streaming platform, mainly for gamers.

His income comes mainly from Twitch subscribers and sponsorships, and his following is viral.

Gordon Hayward has an enormous following of another sort – the more traditional connection between a professional athlete and his fans. But asked who he would be interested in meeting as a fan, the Celtics forward thinks about his own passion for gaming.

“There’s a player named Ninja. He’s somebody that if I saw it would be cool. I’d be a fan. 100,000 fans at one time is insane,” he said. “He’s making, like, $800,000 a month doing this streaming. That didn’t include like sponsorships, and that’s a big deal because you stream yourself and it’s like advertising, a billboard. But he was making it solely on the number of viewers he was getting. Over 100,000 viewers at a time watching him play. The whole thing is incredible, what he’s been able to do.”

Hayward is a crossover star of sorts. He’s played the game League of Legends in front of a live internet audience, and has a close association with the game’s developer, Riot Games.

As a tribute to his comeback this season from ankle surgery, Riot has produced a commercial featuring an anime version of Hayward and Tryndamere, a League of Legends “champion” that the Celtics forward likes to play when on League of Legends.

In the ad, which has aired on TNT during NBA broadcasts, Hayward’s anime character goes through all of the turmoil he faced in real life – gruesome injury, dejection in a hospital bed, recovery. Tryndamere, destroyed in battle by another character, goes through a parallel recovery.

The sequence concludes with Hayward shooting a free throw. He’s amazed at how close the producers came to replicating his actual shooting form.

“They did get it down pretty well, and it didn’t start like that,” he said. “At first on the follow through they had the arms crossed a little bit. To me it almost looks like my shot, too.

“I’ve done things with Riot for probably five years now, and we have a really good relationship,” said Hayward. “When they came to (Boston) last September for the world championship I was there, went on the stage and everything. So they approached me about doing it, thought it was an unbelievable idea.”

Hayward wasn’t disappointed.

“I know, it was really cool. I was really happy they did that and it turned out pretty well,” he said. “I’d been giving some tips on basketball form for shooting and stuff. But they made it look really good.”

The ad will also boost Hayward’s profile within the gaming community, and thus extend efforts he has already taken.

“I’ve worked hard to have the community,” he said. “They know how much of a gamer I am, and that community is really aware of people that aren’t and are trying to come into the space, because the space is blowing up. But I’ve been a gamer since I can remember, and everyone respects that.”

Included in his realm is Fortnite, the survival game that has built such a strong following among professional athletes, including the Red Sox and, somewhat controversially, pitcher David Price.

“I still play that from time to time. The appeal of that is the games are pretty quick, so you can get a lot of games in,” said Hayward. “You’re trying to be the last one to survive and take down other players, and for me the thrill of video games has been the competition. I’ve always liked the competitive games. It’s hard for me to play games that are just kind of casual. It gives me another outlet for competition, and that’s what Fortnite does. If you win the whole thing – say I was the best player in that whole server. In each game there’s 100 players.”

But as Hayward freely admits, he’s not quite ready to enter the world of Ninja Blevins, or any other professional gamer.

“I’m barely above average. I’m pretty good, but I’m like a varsity high school player in terms of real sports,” said Hayward. “You have people who play this eight to 10 hours per day, professional players. They are on a completely different level.”

Coming for C’s

Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. vs. Detroit – The Celtics get their second crack in four days against the Pistons, who after being something of a pre-season sleeper, have a formidable look behind the power combination of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

Thursday, 8 vs. Milwaukee – A nationally-televised rematch of last season’s first-round playoff series, from which the Celtics barely escaped. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the hottest early performers in the league.

Saturday, 7 at Indiana – The week concludes against another quality conference opponent – one that may have its chemistry more in order at this point than the Celtics. This game also kicks off an early road marathon that continues through Denver, Phoenix, Utah and Portland.

Twitter: @Murf56

Source Link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More in Boston Celtics