The NBA season begins today and Riot Games honored one of basketball’s most outspoken gamers with a video about his devastating injury and subsequent recovery last year.
Last year, in the Boston Celtics first game of the season, Gordon Hayward was a new addition to the roster after multiple all-star years playing for the Utah Jazz.
Unfortunately, his season did not go as planned and he suffered a devastating leg injury only minutes into the season.
That sets the stage for this video where Hayward is seen lying in his hospital bed watching the news cycle as he begins his recovery.
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On the outset, it may seem odd for Riot to make a video about an NBA player, but Hayward is an avid League of Legends fan who has defended gaming on the national stage and issued challenges to the rest of the league in a variety of games.
Hayward morphs into Tryndamere during the video, his main character in LoL.
While many other NBA players are involved with esports – former Lakers Shaq and Rick Fox are investors in NRG and the owner of Echo Fox respectively – no current player has been as much of an outspoken defendant of gaming as Hayward.
When Colin Cowherd, the host of The Herd on Fox Sports One, called esports players “booger-eaters” and made the played-out references to competitors living with their parents or being virgins back in 2015, it was Hayward who went on his show and told him just how wrong he was.