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5 Professional Athletes Who Are Gamers: Surprising List!

  Ditulis oleh: Priyanshu Sagar
Updated On: 04/23/2024
Est. Bacaan: 8 menit

Hey everyone! Ever thought about your favorite sports stars kicking back with a controller in hand? It’s more common than you might think!

In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 Professional Athletes Who Are Gamers, exploring why gaming matters to them, and how it impacts their lives both on and off the field. Get ready for some surprises!

Top 5 Professional Athletes Who Are Gamers

When looking at the crossroads of professional sports and esports, few stories are as fascinating as those of athletes who’ve mastered both their sport and the virtual gaming world, according to ExpressVPN.

AtletSportGaming PassionNotable Games/Platforms
Gordon HaywardBasketball (NBA)Long-standing passionLeague of Legends, streaming on various platforms
Demetrious JohnsonMixed Martial Arts (MMA)Fighting games and strategy games like World of WarcraftTwitch streaming sessions
Michael CarrickFootball (Soccer)Team-based gamesOnline charity streams
Charles LeclercFormula One RacingOfficial F1 racing games, simulationsVirtual Grand Prix events, promoting eSports in F1
Neymar Jr.Football (Soccer)Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Among Us, PUBGTwitch streaming, fan interaction

Ready to dive into tales of intense competition, both on the field and online? Let’s go!

1. Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward has carved out a name for himself in basketball, showcasing his talents prominently in the NBA. But his skills aren’t confined to just shooting hoops; Hayward is also a passionate gamer, an interest that has grown alongside his athletic career.

  • Basketball Journey: Starting from playing college basketball to becoming an integral part of NBA teams like the Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics, Hayward’s progression is nothing short of stellar.
  • Gaming Passion: His love for video games isn’t a well-kept secret; Hayward often shares this part of his life with fans through various platforms.
  • Favorite Games: Titles like League of Legends stand out among his top picks, a game he’s not only played but also discussed publicly multiple times.
  • Public Moments: From interviews where he discusses gaming strategies to streaming sessions playing his favorite titles, they all showcase how deeply ingrained gaming is in his off-court life.

Hayward excellently merges the high-stakes world of professional basketball with the intricate challenges found in video games, proving that excellence knows no bounds.

2. Demetrious Johnson

Pulling punches both literally and figuratively, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson rules over Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) while simultaneously dominating in the realm of video games, a dual excellence that affords him admiration beyond just MMA fans.

  • MMA Dominance: Johnson’s journey through MMA ranks as one for history books. With numerous title defenses under One Championship and previously UFC, his agility, and technique are undeniable.
  • Virtual ExcellenceEqually comfortable wielding a controller as he is grappling on the mat, Johnson showcases a versatile skill set across different gaming genres.
  • Preferred Titles: Fighting games naturally resonate with him due to obvious parallels with his profession. However, strategy-intensive games also figure prominently in what he plays, with World of Warcraft being a notable favorite.
  • Gaming Platform & Engagement: Not just sticking to casual play, Mighty Mouse extends his competitive nature to Twitch streaming sessions where fans can catch him battling it out live, further mixing martial arts discipline with strategic gameplay insight.

Johnson’s story offers an inspiring blend of physical contest mastery and virtual escapades, showing us how determination can lead to dominance across diverse battlefronts.

3. Michael Carrick

From controlling the midfield in football to mastering the controls in video games, Michael Carrick’s transition into the gaming sphere illustrates how athletes can excel beyond physical sports in the digital arenas.

  • Football Career: Known for his lengthy and accomplished stint at Manchester United, Carrick has been celebrated for his vision on the pitch and ability to control the game’s tempo, a skillset that perhaps translates well into strategic video games.
  • Gamer Recognition: It’s not just on-field where Carrick makes his mark; off-field, he’s carved out a notable presence within the gaming community, engaging fans with more than just football.
  • Gaming Preferences: While details about specific genres or titles he prefers are less publicized compared to others on this list, it’s clear that being part of team-based activities in games resonates with him, paralleling his role in football.
  • Community Engagement Through Gaming: By sharing moments from his gaming sessions online and participating in charity streams, Carrick leverages gaming as another touchpoint with fans, further showcasing how integral team dynamics from sports carry over into virtual play.

Through shared online experiences, Michael Carrick has continued to inspire and interact with fans worldwide, not only through football but also through his ventures into gaming.

4. Charles Leclerc

As a Formula One sensation known for lightning-fast reflexes and precision driving on real-world tracks, Charles Leclerc has seamlessly translated these skills into dominating virtual races, highlighting the growing overlap between traditional racing disciplines and eSports.

  • Formula One Achievements: With victories at some of F1’s most iconic circuits under Scuderia Ferrari’s banner, Leclerc’s career is already noteworthy. His adaptability on track is indicative of someone always searching for ways to enhance their craft.
  • eSports Involvement: Unlike many athletes who game casually, Leclerc actively competes in virtual grand prix events, often against fellow F1 drivers in simulations that closely mimic real-world racing conditions.
  • Advocacy for Gaming within F1: Beyond personal enjoyment or competitive engagements online; Charles plays a pivotal role in promoting eSports as legitimate competition within Formula One circles. His participation helps bridge fans from traditional motorsport viewership to appreciate and follow virtual counterparts with equal fervor.
  • Favorite Platforms & Titles: Majors prominently include official F1 racing games, the closest digital equivalent to his professional rigor. Yet he isn’t limited by genre; exploration within simulation-based titles provides both entertainment and an unconventional method of honing real-life skills behind the wheel.

Charles Leclerc exemplifies how modern athletes blur the lines between physical prowess and digital mastery, and why such progressions might be key to evolving fan engagement around traditional sports.

5. Neymar Jr.

Neymar Jr., the Brazilian football superstar known for his dazzling skills on the pitch, equally shines in the gaming community through his fervent enthusiasm for video games. His involvement in gaming and streaming significantly enhances fan relationships, offering an intimate glimmer into his off-field passions.

  • Passion for Gaming: Neymar’s love for video games is as public and proud as his football career. His keen participation stretches beyond a mere hobby; it serves as another platform where he demonstrates significant skill and competitive spirit.
  • Streaming Sessions: A proactive member of the streaming community, Neymar often shares live gaming sessions on Twitch. These streams aren’t just solo adventures; they frequently feature other renowned gamers, athletes, and celebrities, building bridges across different entertainment sectors.
  • Fan Engagement: Through gaming, Neymar taps into another layer of interaction with fans. Live streams provide a unique venue for supporters to see their favorite player in a relatable, relaxed environment, breaking down barriers typically upheld by a sports star’s public persona.
  • Favorite Games & Impact:
    • Counter-Strike: Serangan Global (CS:GO) – A personal favorite of Neymar’s; he not only plays it avidly but also occasionally broadcasts matches with professionals from the CS:GO community.
    • Di antara kita & PUBG – Other titles that have seen the footballer team up with friends and fellow players online, showcasing his versatile taste in games.

Neymar Jr.’s active engagement within this vibrating online space showcases an impressive blend of world-class athleticism with digital savvy, an approach that not only endears him further to existing fans but also captures the attention of gaming enthusiasts worldwide.

Baca juga: 5 Game Terbaik Yang Membayar Uang Sungguhan: Menangkan Uang Tunai dengan Bermain Online

Why Gaming Matters to These Athletes?

Gaming, often viewed as just a pastime for many, holds a significantly greater value for professional athletes. Below we dive into the reasons why gaming is not just entertainment but an essential part of life for these high-performance individuals.

Why Gaming Matters to These Athletes?

Community Engagement

In today’s digital age, connecting with fans outside the traditional realms of their sport has become increasingly important for athletes. Gaming serves as a powerful platform to do just that:

  • Connecting Over Shared Interests: Athletes playing popular video games allows them to interact with fans who share similar interests. It breaks down barriers between them and creates more personal connections.
  • Live Streaming Sessions: Many athletes have taken up live streaming their gameplay. This not only entertains but also offers fans a glimpse into their personality off the field or court.
  • Charity Streams: Some use these streaming platforms to host charity events where they play against or alongside fans to raise funds for good causes.
  • Interactivity Levels: Platforms like Twitch allow real-time interaction during gameplay through chat functions, enabling direct conversations between athletes and spectators.

Such engagement strategies help deepen fan relationships far beyond game days or match events.

Skill Development

The merits of video games in honing cognitive skills, crucial not just for gaming but also for the professional arena of sports, are becoming more acknowledged. Here’s a closer look:

  • Faster Reaction Times: Fast-paced video games require quick reactions to succeed. Playing these types of games can help athletes improve their response times, directly translating to better performance in physical sports where every second counts.
  • Enhanced Strategic Thinking: Strategy-based games demand players plan ahead and adapt strategies on the fly. This practice is invaluable for athletes who need to make split-second decisions during critical moments in their competitions. Research highlights how virtual reality technology in sports video games can enhance learning technical skills, induce positive emotions, and reduce anxiety.
  • Improved Concentration: Games that require a high level of focus can bolster an athlete’s ability to concentrate under pressure a transferable skill that is vital during high-stakes matches or events.
  • Visual-Spatial Awareness: Many video games involve navigating through complex environments, which can enhance an athlete’s visual-spatial awareness. This skill is crucial in sports where positioning and spatial judgment play important roles.

Exploring these areas shows us how intertwined gaming and professional athletics can be, not just in terms of physical exertion but mental prowess as well.

Relaxation and Downtime

Beyond the competitive edge, gaming provides in skill development, its role as a means of relaxation and mental recuperation for athletes cannot be overstated.

Let’s delve into how gaming fulfills this essential need:

  • Mental Escape: Engaging in video games allows athletes to immerse themselves in different worlds, offering a mental break from the constant analysis and critique that comes with professional sports.
  • Controlled Stimulation: While rest is crucial, complete disengagement can leave some feeling restless. Gaming offers controlled stimulation, a way to relax without completely shutting off mentally or physically.
  • Social Interaction Without Physical Strain: Multiplayer online games present opportunities for social interaction without the need for physical exertion; this aids in keeping spirits up during recovery periods after injury or intense training sessions.

Seeing how gaming serves dual purposes, skill enhancement, and critical relaxation, it’s clear why many professional athletes incorporate it into their lives beyond merely seeking entertainment.

Expanding Their Brand

Strategic involvement in gaming streams or eSports events has emerged as an innovative way for athletes to enhance their brand visibility and connect with a broader audience.

Let’s examine how this integration into the digital realm benefits their personal branding:

  • Diverse Audience Reach: By participating in gaming and eSports, athletes tap into the vast and varied gaming community, reaching potential fans who may not have been engaged with their sports careers. This diversification of the audience can significantly enhance their fan base.
  • Personal Brand Differentiation: Engaging in popular gaming streams allows athletes to showcase their personalities outside of their professional sports personas. This more relatable side can differentiate them from others, making their personal brand more memorable.
  • Partnership and Sponsorship Opportunities: The gaming industry is booming, attracting lucrative partnerships and sponsorships. Athletes involved in gaming can leverage these opportunities to enter sponsorships that extend beyond traditional sports endorsements.
  • Content Creation: Through streaming platforms like Twitch or YouTube, athletes create content that keeps fans engaged between competitions. This constant engagement helps in building a stronger connection with the audience.
  • Influence in Gaming Culture: As recognized athletes venture into gaming, they have the power to influence trends within the community. Whether it’s popularizing certain games or advocating for positive gaming practices, they can mold aspects of the culture.

These steps illustrate not just a crossover but a blending of worlds where athletic prowess meets digital engagement, providing athletes with an expanded platform to build upon their already established sports brand.

Baca juga: Mengapa Gamer Harus Peduli Kesehatan Mata?


Exploring the lives of these pro athletes shows us gaming is more than just a hobby; it’s a vital part of their lifestyle. It not only helps in managing stress and improving mental health but also plays a significant role in enhancing cognitive skills, building community connections, and expanding personal brands.

Through gaming, athletes find a refreshing escape and unique ways to bond with fans worldwide. This blend of sports excellence and gaming passion offers inspiring insights into the multifaceted lives of our favorite sports stars.

Want to learn more about the exciting crossover between sports and gaming? Explore our blog for more insightful articles!