Paid to play: Meet the Golden State Warriors ‘Gaming Squad’

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OAKLAND (KRON) — “I actually get paid to play video games so…”

Yes you heard that correct.  

Charlie Bostwick gets paid to play video games with the Golden State Warriors gaming squad.  

He’s known online as CB 13.

“We’re all from different places.  I’m from New York. Type is from Indiana, Beast Move is from Portland.  We’re all from different parts of the world and we’re all here to play,” Bostwick said. 

It’s actually a full time gig — well sort of.  

You see these players are under six month contracts with the NBA team that their gaming squad is owned by, in this case the Warriors.  

They make anywhere from $32,000 to $35,000 during those six months and can earn more money during tournaments.  

That may not sound like a lot of money but keep in mind, their housing, food, transportation, medical insurance and retirement costs are covered.  

“Well one of the misconceptions is that these guys are just playing video games all day down in their basements,” Bostwick said. “No we have a lot of players that are going to college or have a part time job during the offseason.  These are young people becoming adults.”

Five out of the six players on the Warriors gaming squad are actually enrolled in college.  

The sixth has already finished college.  

To participate in the gaming squad, those five took off the semester and initially their parents were a bit hesitant about the move.

“So at first when I told my mom I’m going to be dropping out of college for this semester for this spring semester and pursue this she was kinda like, ‘what are you talking about?’” he said. “It was like ‘you’re never going to get anywhere playing the game’ and now that this is an opportunity for me, she’s nothing but being supportive now.”

It’s not so easy to get here though. 

It’s the best NBA 2k gamers against the best.  

Players chose to play on either Xbox 1 or Playstation 4. 

 They have headsets and speakers and can talk to their teammates during the game.  

There are 21 teams with six players making up each team.  

One hundred twenty six players out of hundreds of thousands who competed online to get here. 

It’s the new age sports version of the Hollywood 1980s movie called the Wizard.  One focused around Super Mario Brothers 3, and just like in the movies, the competition is heated.  

Earlier this year players from the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks squads bumped shoulders after their video game match at a tournament in New York — a scuffle caught on video. 

 The Warriors squad was actually there and played immediately afterwards.  

 Jin Choe says his team isn’t full of just gamer nerds.  

He himself sometimes smack talks with opposing players.

“If I make a good play or am really into the moment I get up and trash talk or say something to the other team,” Choe said. “The last time I trash talked I said something like there was a player on the pistons I said he has no defense just to really throw him off and get in his head a little bit.”

So is it a long term gig for these players? 

 That’s still up in the air but Bostwick says he’s taking the extended college route, not for the party benefits but the financial ones that will hopefully come with some video game wins.  

“Whether it takes me six or eight like you said, I’ll probably end up finishing college in the positive rather than the negative with debt so that’s the main point behind this.”

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