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Sony, Lebron and the Emergence of Athlete Gamers

Some of the most well-known professional athletes in the world are really big gamers.

Brandon Hofer

Mar 6, 2023

Photo: Sony

Sony recently revealed a partnership between the PlayStation manufacturer and basketball megastar Lebron James, which manifests as a limited edition PlayStation 5 console cover and a Dualsense wireless controller. The collaborative design shows Lebron’s connection to video games and community awareness.

Lebron and Sony is the latest in a recent trend of atheletes operating in the digital gaming space, which is growing more ripe for cultural crossover, as evidenced by the the incredible adaptation of The Last of Us which jumped the gap from niche video game title to a celebrated HBO television series.

Let's look at a few other athletes with their finger on the pulse of video game communities.

Austin Ekeler streams League of Legends and Fortnite

Another professional athlete that is a big gamer is Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers.  When he isn’t on the football field you might be able to find him on Ekeler's Twitch channel playing a game of Fortnite or engaging with his following. Ekeler also enjoys playing League of Legends, both as a casual player as well as in the competitive scene. He has also participated in NFL Tuesday Night Gaming which is an esports competition that features past and present NFL players as well as content creators.

Austin recently worked with our publisher Newegg to launch the EKLR PC a signature custom gaming computer.

Patrick Mahomes quarterbacks FPS squads

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is a two time NFL champion and apparently a really competitive gamer off the field as well. When he isn’t throwing footballs around the gridiron, he is aiming down the sights and taking out opponents in Call of Duty. Mahomes prefers playing objective-based modes; he got into the series with Call of Duty: Black Ops released in 2010 and has been a big fan ever since.

In addition to his CoD prowess, Mahomes has also been added to the Fortnite Icon series in the past. There was also a Patrick Mahomes Cup where you had the opportunity to win a new outfit that came with three different styles and some cosmetics.

Steph Curry has his own restaurant simulator

NBA star and Golden State Warriors MVP Steph Curry has been featured in a number of the NBA 2K games and plays mobile games with his two kids, Riley and Ryan. Both Steph and his wife Ayesha also worked together with PM Studios to create Chef Curry, which is a game in the restaurant-management game genre. The inspiration behind the game was combining Steph’s basketball acumen with his wife Ayesha’s talent as a chef and having a game with both of them in it that their kids could play.

Hunter Pence applied WoW principles to his outfield approach

Retired MLB outfielder Hunter Pence enjoyed playing World of Warcraft during his time on the San Francisco Giants. It wasn't just to pass the time when he is at home though. He was using WoW to hone his skills on the diamond.

Some games can require some quick decision making and puzzle solving; Pence said that WoW helped with his outfield play because of the different viewpoints in the game. You can still engage with Pence while he is gaming; check out Pence's Twitch channel where he might be playing World of Warcraft, Diablo, Magic: The Gathering or whatever else he feels like playing.

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Brandon Hofer

Brandon Hofer has been covering the gaming industry since 2006, and has been an avid gamer for 30 years starting with the NES. His favorite franchises include The Last of Us, The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, and Call of Duty.

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