THE BEST IN THE GAME

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THE BEST IN THE GAME

2018-12-20T16:15:50+00:00October 14th, 2014|

My name is Gordon Hayward, spelled with a G. And I am the best player in the game today.

Utah Jazz Video Media Day

Go back and read that sentence again in case you think you misread it. You didn’t.

It may come as a shock to read me saying something like this because most of you see me as pretty humble. And 99.9% of the time, I am.

This is different.

I know this sounds like bragging. That’s because it is. I’m so confident in my abilities that I would put money on myself, hypothetically speaking.

One on one versus LeBron James? He would get crushed. We would all be witnesses to a straight up annihilation.

The reigning MVP, Kevin Durant? I’m LOLing. Go ahead and put him with Russell Westbrook. Throw Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in there, just for kicks. They’d still have no chance.

Honestly, take any five NBA players you want and put them on the same squad. It doesn’t really matter. I’d beat them all. It would be like playing a bunch of kindergartners.

I repeat: I’m the best in the game. And probably in all the other major sports, too.

No athlete on earth is as good at League of Legends as I am.

A DIGITAL GIFT

The path to digital greatness is a long one. I know from experience.

Today, I’m here to share that journey with you. I didn’t become the best gaming athlete in the world overnight.

I started gaming when I was six years old. My father introduced me to video games, buying me the original Nintendo. I played anytime I had free time. Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, Contra, Double Dragon — I just fell in love with the games. My dad and I would play together. Back then, the controller only had two buttons, so it was easy for him to do.

As I got older, the game system did, too. We kind of grew up together. Nintendo, Super Nintendo, N64. Then there was Xbox Live, and that changed everything for me. The game was Unreal Championship. I was 12, and I played that game a lot. By the time I was 13, I was on one of the best clans in the world. They put my name on the Internet. Unfortunately, some of the images on the web site where that happened weren’t age appropriate. When my mom saw them, she said, “You have to get off that clan immediately.”

So I did. I switched over to a game named Halo.

halo1

We had a team, a group of my high school friends and me, and we got good. Really good. I wasn’t like a pro, but we went to local tournaments, and we’d win those. There were different games types you could play, and the highest level you could reach in them was 50. I was a 50 in every single game type except a couple of them.

The reason why was simple: It was the only other thing I did in high school. I didn’t have a girlfriend. I didn’t go to dances. Literally all I did was play sports, then come home and play Xbox. I was logging two or three hours a day because my parents put a limit on it, and I always went right up to the max on that. When you play at least 20 hours a week, you improve. The beauty of Halo was that when you won, your rank improved, and when you lost, your rank would go down. It didn’t reward people for just playing the game for 100 hours. It rewarded people for how good they were.

The highlight of my Halo days came at the end of high school. I was a senior, and my Halo team was about play in a tournament for money. By this time, I had already committed to play college basketball at Butler, and I wasn’t sure whether I could play in a tournament for a cash prize. There are a lot of NCAA rules about what you’re supposed to do.

I picked up the phone, and called Brad Stevens, who was the Butler head coach at the time. As an incoming freshman, that was a really awkward phone call. 

“Hi coach. It’s Gordon. I want to play in this video game tournament. Is that okay?”

He was actually all for it. He thought it was funny. He thought it was cool. (Or at least, he said he did.)

In case you were wondering: yes, we did win money at the tournament, so it was good I asked.

A HIGHER CALLING

Right at the beginning of college, I started getting into Starcraft. Starcraft is a PC game— a game that you play on a regular computer. I still like console games and play them all the time, but I made the shift to PC games because they’re a lot more challenging. 

It’s the difference between algebra and calculus. I like calculus.

In Starcraft, you play one-on-one against another person in real time, and basically, you’re controlling an army. You tell every single person in the army what to do. As your army gets bigger, there’s more and more to do. Starcraft was like Halo in that it had a good ranking system, and it was super competitive. Strategy is everything. Win and you get points. Lose, you lose points. You want to get as many points as you can so you can improve your ranking.

But in another way, Starcraft was nothing like Halo. In Halo, I put a bunch of time in, and we were actually pretty good, and that was kind of just how it was. But in Starcraft, I put in a bunch of time, and I was middle of the road. It’s the hardest game I’ve ever played. If you watch the video below, you’ll see what I mean. Professional Starcraft players perform 300 actions per minute. That’s a lot of stuff. It just gets out of control.

I made the jump from Starcraft to League because my friends from my Halo team were playing. In League, you play on a team of five people against another team of five, so right from the beginning, it was a lot more social. It’s a lot slower of a game than Starcraft, and in the beginning, it was more chill and less stressful. 

There turned out to be a lot of comparisons between basketball and League. First, you have five players on your team in each game. Communication is extremely important in both. When you watch pro League of Legends teams, the best ones communicate really, really well. They tell each other what they’re going to do. They tell each other where to go. That’s just like basketball. We have to call out plays and tell each other where we want to be. The team rapport is very important.

The mental game is also similar. In video games, because you really just have the hand-eye coordination, it’s mostly thinking. But with basketball, the players are one step ahead of the game. They’re thinking about not just the move they’re going to make, but the next move and the move after that, or maybe how the defense reacts to something you might do. It’s very similar to League of Legends.

lol

How good am I at League? Better than any other professional athlete, as I already told you. And I’m better than average for like the world population. But professional players are on a whole other level. It’s ridiculous. Last year, I played with a team called Curse with a professional friend of mine, which was pretty cool. I could keep up, but you could tell that I wasn’t a pro player. My friend made me look good.

As much as I like playing League, I honestly don’t know if I would want to become a professional player. Their schedule is brutal. They have 16-hour days. They play all day long, training for all the things they want to do. Then after that, in their free time, they play more League. That’s what it takes if you want to be the best. It would be like going to basketball practice for 12 to 14 hours, and then after practice, spending your free time working on hook shots or left-hand floaters.

I can tell you one person who’s happy that I’m staying an amateur. My wife. She thinks that I’m a nerd, especially because I play PC games. She’s got brothers. Both her brothers play Madden, Call of Duty — what almost everybody plays. When we meet someone and gaming comes up, she’ll say, “You play video games?” “Yeah,” they’ll answer. And then she’ll say, “No, that’s not what I mean. Do you play PC games? Weird games like that?” 

THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME 

I know what you’re thinking. If I had to pick and train an all-NBA League of Legends team, who would be on it?

Point guards.

Point guards have to think quickly, and they have to think ahead. So I’d take Chris Paul, Jeremy Lin, Rajon Rondo, Ricky Rubio, and me. We’d be tough to beat.

Of course, I don’t need four other NBA players on my League of Legends team, or any other pro athletes, for that matter. And at the end of the day, if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this blog entry, it’s that simple truth.

When it comes to professional athletes who can rain down threes on the court and execute pentakills off it, there can be only one, and he goes by GDHayward.

58 Comments

  1. matt October 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Psh, I would pwn you at Duck Hunt

  2. Angie October 14, 2014 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    I feel for Robyn–I’m a gamer wife, too. Although he’s not into PC games, he’s still pretty hardcore. My life ended a little bit when Destiny came out.

  3. Joe October 14, 2014 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    I know the feeling. When I was growing up, my parents would not let me have any gaming systems. So when I graduated high school I moved out, I bought me an Xbox, and played all the time. I mostly got into sports games, Madden and NBA Live. My dream job is to be an NBA GM, so I don’t play the game like most people do. I could care less about playing online, or against other people. I want to play franchise mode. I want to trade players. I want to make everything work, and put together a team that will win a championship. So I waste a lot of time on my console now doing that. I would get more into those other popular games, but I get motion sickness if I play too long. Kind of sucks.not that my opinion matters, but I think it’s great that you’re so open with how you are with video games. I love PC games. Warcraft two, Heroes of Might and Magic, and Diablo two are some of my favorites. Game on brother. Game on.

  4. Nathaniel October 15, 2014 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Gordon (with a G), this really REALLY made my day. As a lifelong Jazz fan, big time game nerd, I smile. Smile BIG. Can’t say I’ve ever gotten into LoL. Thought about it….. But I get addicted to everything else before I forget what I’m doing. Should I get in it? Any other games you playing lately? Do you want to do some game link games with some old Game Boys next time I drive down for a game? (Say yes! Wires made the world better!)

  5. Erik October 15, 2014 at 4:11 am - Reply

    So what ELO is this guy.

    • Wumiko October 15, 2014 at 10:40 am - Reply

      He shouldn’t be bronze if he says he’s good. But then again, most bronze players say they’re good and they’re just stuck at the wrong place. :/

    • Pedro October 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      he is actually plat 1

  6. Joe October 15, 2014 at 4:20 am - Reply

    Who is your favorite champion?

  7. Tim October 15, 2014 at 4:59 am - Reply

    Good luck in the West! I would love to see Utah back in the Playoffs. I am a Southern Indiana native and Pacers fan, but I always want to see other Indiana natives achieve success in the L.

  8. Jordan October 15, 2014 at 5:10 am - Reply

    Big fan, now play Smite. I’m a designer on that game.

  9. Cabe October 15, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

    I can see it now…
    CP3 Mid- get buckets
    Lin Top – Solid, not flashy, intelligent
    Rondo – Jungle – playmaker… although fragile enough to be an adc…
    Rubio Support – assists for dayz
    GDHayward ADC – Sharpshooter

  10. yi jianlian October 15, 2014 at 5:20 am - Reply

    Rello, Rye rind rhis to be rerry funny. U, American boi, rhink u can defeat the rikes of Yi? Me and buddy Reremy Lin are Capcom vs Marvel co-champions. U don’t even look 16. REmail me ur REXbox gamertag if u want some Yi

  11. travis October 15, 2014 at 5:23 am - Reply

    Gordon, I can’t tell you how epic you are. I have been a jazz fan my whole life as well as a nerd, I played sc1, halo, dota, and now league. To tell you the truth we just bought my 18 month old son your jersey because he is going to be you for Halloween while my wife and I put on our jazz gear and are fans. I know this is a long shot, but my brother and I who are huge fans would die for a chance to play a game of league with you. My wife(you are her favorite nba player and have been for a few years now) might not think I’m so weird for being such a nerd. Anyways. It’s a long shot. Either way your still a beast on the court and I look forward to a great season!

  12. Alex October 15, 2014 at 5:47 am - Reply

    Kappa

  13. Jacob October 15, 2014 at 5:53 am - Reply

    What division are you?

  14. tyler c October 15, 2014 at 6:09 am - Reply

    Gordon, I’m tyler, with a T. If you ever want to play on a team that duos jax and yi bottom, add me! haha that would be so cool. We’re pretty decent. If you’d like, my tag is TCONtheDESTROYER. I main yi…

  15. Chris Howard October 15, 2014 at 6:10 am - Reply

    somebody should organize this so it actually happens
    oh and we should play normals

  16. Patrick October 15, 2014 at 6:13 am - Reply

    Unfortunately, Jeremy Lin is more of a DotA 2 guy than a League of Legends guy 🙁

    I would’ve loved to see this dream team though.

  17. Brian October 15, 2014 at 6:38 am - Reply

    Whats your IGN Gordon?

  18. Greg October 15, 2014 at 6:47 am - Reply

    I feel you man. I’m tired of these games that call it “competitive multiplayer” and then there is no ranking tier. Just points for playing matches. Halo 3 was where I had the most fun. And DotA.

  19. Bryan Caryer October 15, 2014 at 7:11 am - Reply

    You’re the man on and off the court. But i want to see how good you really are in league. Hit me up and I’ll support for you 😉

    – LemonLime

  20. Patrick H October 15, 2014 at 7:39 am - Reply

    You’re awesome 🙂

  21. Josh B. October 15, 2014 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Gordon Hayward is legit. I think someone linked his account in the LoL forums and he is like Plat I almost Diamond. That’s insane for someone whose main job is basketball with intensive works outs, practice, game time, conferences, etc. An inspiration to gamers and sports fans!

  22. Austin October 15, 2014 at 8:19 am - Reply

    ~TWT~
    ~G-Time
    ~Ace
    ~Nitride
    ~Riku

  23. Nathan October 15, 2014 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Very well done cousin. I’m impressed at the humble leap and was wondering when this would come out. But, if I recall I did beat you in Red Alert growing up… talk to you soon!

  24. dulf October 15, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

    whoa???? okay time to sleep -_-

  25. Jake October 15, 2014 at 9:20 am - Reply

    As a Butler grad and huge fan, this is awesome. I miss your starcraft stream, =). Hope you get a chance to at least check out the VoDs of the World Championships. Good Luck this upcoming season and GO DAWGS!

  26. Derjk October 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Prove it with videos, Gordon. Talk is cheap. Beat athletes at LoL. Even Halo and Starcraft. Do it! Set up a youtube channel! Then go ahead and play other awesome games(not limited to competitive ones) because video gaming geeks aren’t a lot in the NBA. (You guys, let’s not count NBA2k and the regular run-of-the-mill FPS, I mean that’s probably the most “gaming” NBA players go anyway)

  27. oliver October 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    You look like Captain America !

    Love this post.. you really understand gaming!

    It seems rare these days.

  28. Taylor October 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Lol, love it Hayward.

  29. Zume October 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Well Jeremy Lin is a Dota2 player so he would destroy Gordon. Big fan of yours man, nice to see you still make time to pwn off the court too!

  30. Devonte October 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    I cant find his account on lolking? o.O is his user “GDHayward” or am I doing something wrong?

  31. BobL October 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    I am not a gamer, but took the hook as I knew there was something more to the story than saying you can crush LeBron 1on1. Fantastic post and clearly proving correct in tat no one on the internet reads. Great story, well played……..I cant wait to see how long the urban legend lives about GDHayward saying he can take LeBron 1on1. Nice!!!!!!

  32. Seth October 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Awesome blog! I love it, as a long-time PC gamer, it’s really refreshing to have recognized athletes in other sports draw comparisons so others can begin to understand what competitive professional video gaming is. Anyone familiar with the Koreans knows they take professional gaming to another level entirely. Both StarCraft & LoL are now dominated by Asian teams. StarCraft, the top 25 in the World is typically dominated solely by Koreans. Best of luck this season!

  33. Justin October 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Come over to Dota 2!!!

  34. mas October 15, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    In the video he talks about hoping to get to gold like his friends one day so I doubt he is even high silver.

  35. Hafen October 15, 2014 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Hey!! This is awesome… I always have like you, and knowing that you play league of legends is amazing. If you ever want anyone to play with, add me my name is sixsamkizan or jokersvoid

  36. Kevin Coleman October 15, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    It’s too bad you aren’t playing DotA. Playing League of Legends may seem like a lot of fun, but by every single measurable bit of what makes a game great competitively, DotA comes out ahead on every one.

  37. Matt October 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    This is the best thing I’ve read today. That’s awesome you play LoL. You need to stream your games, you can make more money that way even though you just signed a massive contract. But don’t think of the money, think of the fans of LoL and NBA like myself. You just gained a fan right here because of this admission. Keep doing it what you do on the court and on LoL. Props to you man.

  38. Jeffrey October 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Man league is for scrubs and noobs man. Sorry to break it to you. Now that you have got more involved in real comp games, you need to play dota 2. It’s the original game. League had to copy dota. Also there is way more strategy and the graphics look way better and way more challenging. League looks like paper cartoons, it’s for ages 8-12 little kids. Gordon you need to move up to the big boys game. You are in the nba. You’re better then that. Also Jeremy Lin already plays dota

  39. Ken Freestone October 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Doom. I am the king of Doom (video game).

  40. Tyler October 15, 2014 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    He is playing the wrong video game… real men play Dota 2!

  41. Sebastian Aiden Daniels October 15, 2014 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Haha. I love it. Chris Bosh might be able to keep up with you.

    You are right that the professional players are insane. I had a roommate in college who wanted to go semi-pro at least and you would just hear his mouse clicking nonstop. They never stop clicking. It is rather insane.

    You should check out World of Tanks.

  42. ryan October 15, 2014 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    hey Gordon are you down to play some old school halo? the picture you have here made me want to play!

  43. adam October 15, 2014 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    Gordan, I played Unreal Championship on Xbox when it came out for 2 years. I knew and played with a lot of the best players, what was your name?

  44. EvilxMunkee October 16, 2014 at 3:10 am - Reply

    First off, Huge fan of you and so happy Utah kept you with us!
    Second, Thank you! This is an amazing article, and a great read.
    Now to show my family that I was right all those years ago that Games and Sports can coexist! lol

  45. Special k October 16, 2014 at 4:59 am - Reply

    As a game developer for Electronic Arts in Salt Lake, this makes me smile.

  46. Eric October 16, 2014 at 5:35 am - Reply

    I would so play League with Gordon Hayward

  47. adam October 16, 2014 at 9:45 am - Reply

    This guy is awesome. We played all the same games growing. Halo, sc1 and LoL, turned me into an extremely competitive strategic thinker

  48. Collin October 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Man up. Quit the NBA and go pro in eports. Talk is cheap

  49. Brendan Gray October 17, 2014 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Hey man, You are the best. I had no idea what you were talking about when I read the articles at first and didn’t bother to notice it was right there in front of me. I remember your interview from the beginning of season 4 or maybe end of three when you were at the Curse house. First off Voyboy is the man and my favorite in the game also just seems like a really great guy. Second, you’re now my favorite NBA player your sense of humor is great not to mention they have no idea how difficult it is to master a game like League. All I gotta say is respect man. I see nothing but a great future for you. I’d be willing to bet money, metaphorically speaking, that you could have all those guys on your team in a hexakill game and I would “straight up annihilate” ya’ll.
    Sincerely, Brendan Gray (dabuddha333)

  50. Dennis October 17, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

    I drop 50 easy using your character in NBA 2k. #BESTINTHEGAME

  51. Patrick Larimore October 17, 2014 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    you can get ran in LoL.. username is RayLew

  52. AllGoTop October 17, 2014 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    Lots of Jazz players playing lots of video games. Says a lot about how much there is to do in Utah.

  53. Ezreal October 19, 2014 at 12:02 am - Reply

    But who does he main?

  54. Colt Ryan October 22, 2014 at 2:03 am - Reply

    I would pwn you Hayward. No doubt in my mind.

  55. Kanoa DeOllos May 25, 2015 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Hey G-Time! I’m Kanoa, an 11 year old Jazz fan. I’m the biggest Hayward fan ever. I went to your basketball camp in 2013, it was great. I just want to say, gaming is GREAT! Whenever I am not at my local rec or a park with a court, I’m playing on my Xbox. I think video games are awesome. I also want to say I think you are great at basketball. I respect your game and hope to make it to the NBA some day. Considering I’m 5’1” and my parents are each shorter than 5’10”, I won’t be very tall, so I have to work EXTRA hard. I look at your play-making abilities and try to base my game off yours. If you can email this email I put down, please do so, even though it’s my mom’s. I would love to see you in person again some time. Good luck next season!

  56. Joe April 28, 2017 at 3:47 am - Reply

    whattup gordon!

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