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DeAndre Ayton’s video game obsession will cost him a lot, on and off the court

DeAndre Ayton's love for video games reduces his sleeping time to two hours on some nights. This isn't good news to fans and the front office that is not keen on giving him a max extension.
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton

Players turn to different hobbies outside the NBA court to get their minds off basketball. It’s not surprising that many of them turn to video games, particularly the younger generations. But it’s alarming how a starting center of a league-leading team in the regular season chooses to sleep less in favor of his addiction to video games. A lot less.

Ayton’s video game obsession

Karl-Anthony Towns, Gordon Hayward, Paul George, and Joel Embiid are some of the most avid fans of video games among NBA players today. Some of them are so addicted they brought consoles into the bubble. But when it comes to NBA2K, one player reigns supreme: Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton. He’s the only NBA player to reach Legend status, a distinction reserved for gamers who reached Level 40 for four seasons. But as they say, anything excessive in nature has its pitfalls.

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Lack of sleep is a common hurdle among NBA players. Due to the pressure, constant traveling, and other distractions, some find it hard to get enough sleep after games. DeAndre is different; he shuns sleep to play video games. He reportedly spends three to four hours playing, which reduces his sleeping time to two hours on some nights.

“It’s so hard for me to sleep after long games, especially big, long games. I don’t know why, but I occupy my time with the game. I connect with some of my people. I got brothers in the UK. I got family in Jamaica and the Bahamas. During that game, we talk our smack. Whoever we just beat up on, we talk about it and laugh about it. I ain’t going to bed until 4 or 5 a.m. That’s how serious it gets.” explained Ayton.

How this could affect his NBA career

Ayton was due for an extension, and this habit is probably part of the reason the Phoenix Suns were not keen on giving him a multi-year deal. He played poorly in Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks, and regardless of which side you listened to, the relationship is obviously strained. In the end, the Suns matched his qualifying offer, but it remains to be seen is the relationship between the player and the organization beyond repair

Yes, he could dish out stellar performances, but how could he convince the media or fans that in games where he played poorly, his lack of sleep connected to excessive video game playing wasn’t at fault? The message Ayton is sending here is clear: his priority is his video games, or else, he would have taken his sleep more seriously. A foggy brain might result in a lapse of judgment during pivotal moments in the game. 

Players have the right to take their minds off the game and relax in any way they want to. Some play golf, go bowling, or smoke marijuana. But one thing is clear; DeAndre Ayton might not suffer from limited sleeping minutes now, but later in his career, it could haunt him. He would then realize that sleep is a necessity and not a luxury every athlete could afford to waste. 

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