The life of an NBA player can become excruciating during the season. Between practices, games, travel, treatment and other commitments, there isn't much free time for the guys, especially on the road, so they cherish those moments for themselves.
Thanks to their social media accounts, we've learned that many NBA players enjoy Call of Duty during their downtime—much more than we thought.
According to Activision reps, there are more than 100 current players who are big into the Call of Duty franchise, including one of the most diehard fans, the Indiana Pacers' Roy Hibbert. In fact, he was invited to be a correspondent for the game at E3 this past summer in Los Angeles, and Activision's producers gave him a special touch in the new game, "Ghosts": his own customized gun.
Hibbert gave Bleacher Report an exclusive look into that and more this past Saturday in New York City, before he took the court against the Brooklyn Nets. Check out my video interview above with the All-Star center, from his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton down in Battery Park, where we chatted about his Call of Duty passion, inside the world of "Ghosts," his strategy for playing and much more.
In addition to Hibbert, Pacers teammate George Hill and Harden of the Houston Rockets shared with Bleacher Report some more interesting perspective into the NBA's love affair with the game.
Hill's thoughts on why Call of Duty has become more and more popular among NBA players: "I definitely get the sense of the impact of it because as athletes you have a competitive nature that you want to be the best at something. So once you've played it a couple times and your teammates got it, and they get this many kills, you try to compete and get more. That's why it's becoming more of a hot topic because everyone wants to compete and get better, and what better way to do it than everyone can log on and get online together and play."
Hill and Harden, who said the longest he has played without stopping was five hours, said the game provides a mental edge for some players. Here's how it helps the two of them:
Hill: "Actually, I think it helps you with reflexes a lot. When people pop out, your hand-eye coordination has to trigger real quick to switch your gun the right way. I think it helps with your reflexes more than anything."
Harden: "I'll play it especially if I have a bad shooting game. I'll come home and I'm bored and I'll just play Call of Duty. It definitely takes my mind off of the game I had."