Game Recognize Game: 10 Biggest Video Gamers in Professional Sports

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst INovember 18, 2011

Game Recognize Game: 10 Biggest Video Gamers in Professional Sports

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    When you think of a true gamer, you think of the guy who lives in his mother's basement without money or a job. Normally, the gamer's sole claim to fame is a high player ranking on a particular video game.

    But that isn't always the clearest picture of a true gamer, despite how common it might be.

    We've learned over time that even the biggest "swag-tastic" athletes pick up an Xbox or Playstation controller now and then.

    You might be surprised about how many multi-million dollar athletes love to play video games just like the rest of us mortals.

    Here are some of the biggest gamers in professional sports today.

Joel Zumaya

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    In 2006, Joel Zumaya was lighting the baseball world on fire with his fastball that routinely clocked in at over 100 MPH.

    After suffering inflammation in his right arm, Zumaya missed three games in that year's ALCS.

    The reason for his injury? The popular video game, "Guitar Hero."

    After going to the training staff with the injury, the trainers noticed that the inflammation was consistent with that of a guitar player, not a baseball pitcher.

    It was discovered Zumaya played the game for hours on end which caused his injury.

    You know you're a hardcore gamer when a multi-million dollar job takes a back seat to attempting to play "Free Bird" with 100 percent accuracy.

    As far as I'm concerned, Zumaya is the No. 1 guy on this list, hands down.

Adrian Peterson, Derrick Rose and BJ Penn

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    Before the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings faced off in what would be a blowout win for Green Bay, Adrian Peterson received an early copy of the newest title in the "Assassin's Creed" video game series called, "Revelations."

    Peterson has reportedly been playing the series of games since it's inception in 2007.

    Despite being man-handled by the Pack last Monday Night, Peterson and his Viking teammates won their respective online battle against B.J. Raji and the reigning Super Bowl champs.

    The Vikings running back even appeared in a trailer for the new game alongside NBA star Derrick Rose and former UFC champion, BJ Penn.

    You can watch the trailer above.

Washington Redskins

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    When "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" hit the shelves, some of the Washington Redskins players took part in an online battle with 50 members of the Army.

    Stephen Bowen, Kareem Moore, Brandon Banks, Erik Cook and Nick Sundberg all participated in the event. The Redskins organization is one of the biggest supporters of a charity called, "Pros vs. G.I. Joes."

    This was the third time the franchise took part in this event which is normally held around Veteran's Day.

    Redskins return man, Brandon Banks, even had a one-on-one challenge with another soldier in a game of Madden '12.

    Although Banks walked away a winner, everyone walked away with a great story to tell and a smile on their face.

Gordon Hayward

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    With the NBA lockout possibly lasting the entire season, Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is finding a unique way to not only make money, but keep himself busy as well.

    Hayward recently became a pro-gamer in September in the IGN Pro League.

    Being a die-hard fan of the "StarCraft" series, Hayward competed in his first tournament for the game October 6-9 in Atlantic City where the grand prize was $100,000.

    Hayward further proves that not only the lazy and jobless are passionate gamers.

    The results of Hayward's exploits in the tournament can be found here.

Kevin Garnett

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    Kevin Garnett is a Hall of Famer on the basketball court, having won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics on top of an illustrious career in basketball.

    We all know that side of Garnett, but there is a side you may just be discovering right now.

    Turns out, Garnett is a huge fan of the "Call of Duty" video game series as well, often taking his talents to the internet for virtual battle.

    Garnett, like the Redskins' players I mentioned before, took part in an event that pitted he and members of the U.S. military against each other in, "Call of Duty: Black Ops."

    The event was hosted by Activision Blizzard, the makers of the hit video game and when all was said and done, Garnett proved just how hardcore a gamer he can be.

Chad Ochocinco

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    Chad Ochocinco may be a clown on and off the field sometimes, but the NFL star has proven he is always serious when it comes to gaming. Not to mention, he's always up for the challenge.

    That was probably the reason Ochocinco tweeted his Xbox Live gamertag to challenge other gamers online in several different games.

    One of Ochocino's tweets read, "Serious game invites only on FIFA!!! XBox gamertag=Estaban 85 I'll be online from 4-6 pm"

    Pretty bold considering he knew it would create a slew of game invites from around the globe.

    Despite the possible hassle, that didn't matter to Ochocinco who showed he was a true gamer at heart, looking for a new challenge to embark on in the virtual world.

    The picture above was tweeted by Ochocinco while playing one of the "Call of Duty" games.

LeBron James

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    Like Hayward, LeBron James has too much time on his hands during the NBA Lockout.

    Recently, James tweeted to let everyone know his successful finish of the game, "Batman Arkham City."

    "What an amazing game "Batman Arkham City". Just finished and beat it. Everyone who had a hand in creating it, I wanna say Thank You! #Gamer"

    The game, which was released October 18th, took James approximately two weeks to finish as his tweet was on November 1st.

    By normal gaming standards, that's a long time.

    But I guess we can give him a pass since he does have other obligations that force him to travel more often than your average gamer.

    Still, like in his NBA career, LeBron will have to step up his game if he ever wants to be the best and most hardcore gamer around.

Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey

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    There is no problem with the method used by these three guys to play video games.

    They all drank beer and ate fried chicken while playing video games in the Boston Red Sox's clubhouse this past season.

    The problem with what Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey were doing was that they did it in the midst of one of the worst collapses in MLB history.

    These guys all make the list as one because they all did it together, actions that aren't rare in baseball clubhouses. But they became magnified when the story came to light after the historic team collapse in 2011.

    Proving their passion for video games, not even a collapse as monumental as the one the Sox went through last season could stop these guys from gaming.

    That, my friends, is the definition of a hardcore gamer.

    The world may collapse around you, but that shouldn't stop any gamer from putting down that controller.

    Ever.

Rampage Jackson

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    Few are more addicted to video games than UFC superstar, Rampage Jackson. Many were aware of his passion for gaming, but few truly understood it.

    According to an interview with ESPN, Jackson went into full detail about just how obsessed he truly is with video games, especially "Halo."

    "I have a personal limo, and I hooked up two of the old Xbox's to two TV's so I could play Halo in my car," Rampage told the reporter. "I was addicted to Halo back in the day, so whenever I would go anywhere, I could have somebody drive me so I wouldn't lose any video game time. That's the type of thinker I am. I try to strategize my time because time is something you can never get back. Time is the most valuable thing in this world, I don't care what nobody says."

    Wow, that is someone who takes gaming seriously. As any gamer knows, there is never time to waste in this world. Especially the virtual world.

    Rampage takes that fact very seriously.

    All gamers alike wish they had the resources to bring their video games wherever they go. What Jackson is doing isn't obsessive by gaming standards, just practical.

Jared Allen

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    When he isn't making opposing quarterbacks lives a living hell, Jared Allen spends his off-time playing his Xbox.

    During the offseason, Allen also took part in a special promotion from EA Sports that had he, Drew Brees, Clay Matthews and Larry Fitzgerald squaring off with the U.S. Military in the newly released, "Battlefield 3."

    During the event, Allen professed his love of video games in an interview with the gaming company, IGN.

    "I rock Xbox 360," said Allen. "I got them at all levels and there's one by every TV just about so that way I wouldn't have to disconnect and bring them upstairs or downstairs."

    However, Allen barely made this list because there is still a hole in his attempt to be considered a hardcore gamer.

    "You know what? I haven't been on Xbox Live yet because I'm not really technically savvy, so I don't know how to link up yet," said Allen.

    Get your game up, Jared. If you want to hang with the real gamers on this planet, get yourself a network adapter for less than $100, and take your manhood to the internet.

    I'll be waiting for you.

    Makaveli212. Bring it!

    @michaelmoraitis