SVG: When Shaq was asked whether he considers professional gamers to be athletes, he responded, “I do. And I wanna commend you guys and I’m proud of you guys.” The basketball icon continued, saying, “Athlete means different things, but athlete means here,” pointing to his head. Shaq went on to say that only 15% of being an athlete is physical, with everything else being mental.
“Shaq continued on stating that esports and sports being primarily a mental task leads to esports players retiring at an early age. Shaq pointed out that the shelf life of an esports Athlete is in the 3 to 5-year range, and compared that to the NBA and NFL. This is true, considering some esports players have retired twice by the age of 26. All of this for Shaq to conclude by saying ‘So yes, you guys are athletes. If you guys say you’re athletes I believe you because I can’t do what you do.'”