(CNN VAN) Thursday night is the start of the NBA finals; the best of the best leaving it all on the court for the chance at a championship.
But it’s not the only way basketball is being played professionally here in the US.
Some of these pros never leave the comfort of their chairs in what’s increasingly becoming a more viable career path by the minute.
Omar Jimenez explains how one man quit his regular 9-to-5 and began a career with the NBA
“With the first pick…”
THAT’S NBA COMMISSIONER ADAM SILVER ANNOUNCING THE FIRST PICK IN THE DRAFT!
BUT FOR A VIDEO GAME.
SCRATCH THAT…FOR A *CAREER.
Austin Painter “Boo Painter” / Player, Washington District Gaming: “28, 12, and 10. You’re welcome. Lebron!”
AUSTIN “BOO PAINTER” WORKED AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT…UNTIL HE DIDN’T…
Austin Painter “Boo Painter” / Player, Washington District Gaming: “I started telling people at work I was like ‘well guys, I put my two weeks in’ they were like ‘what? Where are you going? You got another federal job or something?’ I was like no, I’m going to go play 2K for a living.”
AND YOU CAN SEE HOW.
HE’S MAKING BETWEEN THIRTY AND THIRTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR SIX MONTHS…HE GETS HIS HOUSING TAKEN CARE OF…ALL PLAYING FOR THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS’ NEWEST NBA ADDITION…THE VIDEO GAME…NBA *2K.
AND HE’S NOT THE *ONLY ONE TURNING WHAT MANY CONSIDER A HOBBY INTO A VIABLE *CAREER.
Omar Jimenez / Reporting: “So when I say career, what do I mean? Well, let’s break it down with some numbers. First 500,000: That’s how much one gamer reported making per month playing the popular game Fortnite. The next: 24 million. That was the prize pool was for one of the biggest annual gaming tournaments and for comparison the Master’s in golf only 11 million dollars. And finally a little more than 180 billion: That’s is what the global market value is estimated to be for gaming is forecast to be by the year 2021.”
Kevin Lin / Co-founder, Culture Strategy and Innovation, Twitch “For the younger audience this is their afternoon cartoons, this is their Nick at Nite, this is what they’re tuning in for.”
KEVIN LIN IS THE CO-FOUNDER OF TWITCH…THE POPULAR STREAMING SITE HAS HELPED TURN ORDINARY BASEMENT GAMERS INTO BONAFIDE CELEBRITIES.
Kevin Lin / Co-founder, Culture Strategy and Innovation, Twitch: “We’ve always played games but as part of our industry we were really not encouraged to talk about it. It wasn’t cool.”
BUT IT’S TURNED INTO JUST THE OPPOSITE…LIN SAYS ON AVERAGE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE TUNING IN FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS A DAY…WITH POPULAR *STREAMERS MAKING MONEY OFF OF ADS…SUBSCRIPTIONS…AND EVEN MERCHANDISING.
IT’S A PROSPECT THAT’S APPEALING IN DORM ROOMS ACROSS AMERICA.
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND…JOEL YOO RUNS AN ORGANIZATION OF GAMERS WHO REPRESENT THE SCHOOL IN TOURNAMENTS NATIONWIDE…AND HE SAYS THEY’VE COLLECTIVELY EARNED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS DOING IT.
Joel Yoo / Sophomore, University of Maryland, head of UMCP gaming: “This is kind of the shoot for fame. People were aspiring to be the best basketball player, people aspire to be the best soccer player, they’re now trying to be the best Esports players of today.”
IT’S A THOUGHT THAT AT ONE POINT MIGHT HAVE ENDED IN A ROOM FULL OF LAUGHTER.
BUT *INCREASINGLY…NOT ANYMORE.
Kevin Lin / Co-founder, Culture Strategy and Innovation, Twitch “This is a very real thing and it’s here to stay.”
I’M OMAR JIMENEZ REPORTING.