Joshua Hunter started practicing his video game skills as a kid for the same reason many other younger brothers do.
He wanted to beat his older brother in games like NBA 2K as a way to silence trash talk.
Now, however, the Magic Gaming guard clearly has the upper hand.
Hunter became the first Orlando player to earn a nod in the NBA 2K League All-Star Game, which tips off Friday night in New York.
“He won’t even play me anymore,” Hunter said of his older brother with a laugh. “He is super proud of me but he does like to take some credit for me being so good.”
Hunter, whose gamer tag is “unguardable,” has proven to be so this season, scoring 25.6 points and dishing out 11.9 assists per game in the team’s 5v5 lineup.
It should be a family affair in New York for Hunter, as he expects his brother, his parents and his nephew to be in attendance.
It’s a far cry from the days when his parents would ask him to stop playing video games so much.
“They love it now,” he said. “Now, here I am, one of the best in the world, making money doing what I enjoy. It’s a great feeling.”
Trade changed his career path
Last year, Magic Gaming traded for Hunter and almost immediately made him the focal point of its offense.
The move paid off, with Hunter finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2022.
It’s the first time a Magic Gaming player has reached an All-Star game since the league launched in 2017 with the franchise as one of the original 17 teams.
“He brings a level of play that is unmatched by others across the league,” Magic Gaming GM and Head Coach Jonah Edwards said in a news release. “We are blessed to have him.”
The feeling is mutual from Hunter, who credits the team with helping him earn some recognition by making him a focal point of the offense.
“I love the organization,” he said. “I think being on the Magic has helped start to get some recognition.”
The 21-year-old planned to spend some time roaming New York, where his family is from, before Friday’s game.
He said he has had to sacrifice some vacations and family time so it will be good to spend a few days with them in the Big Apple.
In fact, the All-Star game will be the first time his family will be in attendance at one of his games.
The whole experience, he said, has been surreal.
“Before, I wanted to be a top YouTuber,” he said. “I wanted to beat the top players in the league. Now I’m considered a top player and people want to beat me. That’s pretty cool.”