Hassan Whiteside joined the Utah Jazz in the offseason. The team plans to use him as a backup to Rudy Gobert, and with little time to build chemistry, Whiteside revealed one off-court activity he enjoys doing with Gobert.
Whiteside on playing Call of Duty with Gobert
Whiteside revealed he and Gobert bond over playing Call of Duty at night. Playing video games has been one of the ways players choose to release stress and build bonds with their teammates. It became extra popular during the Orlando Bubble when players had to spend a lot of time confined to their rooms. For the new Utah Jazz big man, it’s also a way to understands how Gobert thinks and acts in certain situations.
“We beat the hell out of each other during the day, and then we play Сall оf Duty together at night.”
Hassan Whiteside, via
Hassan Whiteside, on his practice battles with Rudy Gobert: “We beat the hell out of each other during the day, and then we play Call of Duty together at night.” pic.twitter.com/B85sRF8skb
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) October 10, 2021
Getting the former Miami Heat center acclimatized to how things are being done in Utah could only benefit the team. He could provide rest minutes for Gobert in the regular season so Rudy could be fresh when the postseason starts. A 9-year veteran, Whiteside has not won a championship, yet, something he hopes he could achieve in Jazz. At this point of his career, it’s all about winning.
“I don’t want to be at home watching the playoffs like I have the last two years. I wanted to go to a team that’s ready to win now.”
Hassan Whiteside, The Salt Lake Tribune
Other NBA players using video games to destress
The bond between players doesn't only stay on the court. Aside from Whiteside and Gobert, former Utah Jazz player Gordon Hayward is also into video games. Hayward even turned his hobby into a business collaboration with HyperX Gaming. Paul George, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Joel Embiid are also top players on the virtual side. Like Hayward, they can cash in their hobbies or build teams that could compete in professional tournaments.
Another thing playing video games can do to players is that it helps with their mental state. It takes away the pressure of basketball for a few moments. For Hassan, it saved him and other players.
“I play video games every day in the bubble. It’s a stress reliever. It gets your mind off being at work all day. We’ve got so much time, but you can only play so much basketball. So if I’m not on the court or doing anything basketball-related, I’m playing Call of Duty. Gaming has saved a lot of guys. It, for sure, saved me.”
The Jazz had quite a lot of drama in the locker room in the past few years, and every opportunity for players to bond is more than welcome. With Gobert as an undisputed starter, Whiteside understands his contribution off the court may even be more important than the one on the court.
Playing CoD is one way to do it - Gobert and Whiteside have to make sure they still get their 8 hours of sleep.