Not many individuals can say that they are a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and competed in the E3 2018 Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am. However, Josh Hart is not like many individuals, as the shooting guard is looking towards entering his second season with the Lakers and improving upon what was an impressive rookie season for the Villanova alum.
However, dominance on the basketball court is not the only competitive field that Josh Hart is looking to name for himself on, as the young NBA player has his eyes set on becoming a major player in the esports industry and showing the world that no other player in the NBA comes close to his skill in Fortnite.
We were able to catch up with Josh Hart at the Call of Duty World League (CWL) Anaheim Open this past weekend and discuss everything from his future plans for working in the ever growing esports industry, his love of Fortnite, the strategy he employed to not get killed by Tyler "Ninja" Belvins at the Fortnite Pro-Am and much more.
Twin Galaxies: Former NBA players, such as Rick Fox, Shaquille O'Neal and Jared Jeffries have all invested in and are working in the esports industry currently. Are you interested in working in the esports industry during or after your NBA career is over?
Josh Hart: "Definitely. I think more so in the middle of my career towards the end of it, definitely after. I think that my end goal is to own a team, as that is the one thing that I would want to do. Right now, for the first couple of years, I'm trying to just get into the gaming world, learn as much as I can and meet different people. I've talked to Rick (Fox) about it before, so I definitely think that owning a team would be my end goal."
Twin Galaxies: What would you say is your favorite esports title to watch and play?
Josh Hart: "Call of Duty or Fortnite. I love playing Fortnite. That is my favorite thing. It's tough though. With Fortnite, you have the PC guys that have a higher ceiling and that is why I love watching Fortnite. If I really wanted to play competitively, it would probably be COD (Call of Duty). I feel more evenly matched on console. If I am playing against a PC guy on Fortnite, I know that I am going to get my ass kicked."
Twin Galaxies: What brought you out to CWL Anaheim?
Josh Hart: "You know just coming out and showing love to the community. I just got my foot in the gaming world, so I just wanted to come learn, meet new people and see these guys in their own world. You know when you see hoopers on the court it is totally different than when you see them off of the court and talk to them. I've talked to a lot of these guys before, so I thought it was my time to come see and support them."
Twin Galaxies: How was your experience at the E3 2018 Celebrity Fortnite Pro-Am? Were you gunning to eliminate anyone in particular, such as Paul George or Ninja?
Josh Hart: "I wanted to eliminate Paul George. I wanted to get his ass, but unfortunately I wasn't able to get him. I wasn't one of those guys that was like 'I am gonna go kill Ninja'. I knew it wasn't going to happen. I knew I was going to die. That's why I didn't go to Lucky Landing because Ninja always goes to Lucky Landing! It was a dope experience though, so fun. E3 was amazing. It was my first one, and it was an amazing experience. I can't wait to go next year. I knew the gaming world was big, but I didn't know how big or how crazy it was. It is one of those things where when you get a taste of it, you are all in, and you love it."
Twin Galaxies: So if they have another Pro-Am next year, you are a shoe in to play?
Josh Hart: "Without a doubt. Not even a question. I'll be there."
Twin Galaxies: With the announcement by Epic Games to distribute a $100,000,000 prize pool through the 2019 Fortnite World Cup, are you surprised to see professional sports level money in esports now?
Josh Hart: "Athletes you know, we get paid pretty handsome salaries. It's good for these guys because you know a lot of times in sports you can have the work ethic and you can have the drive and desire, but sometimes you don't get the athletic genes. Now, I am not a freak athlete. I'm athletic, but you have guys that are like LeBron (James), Giannis (Antetokounmpo or KD (Kevin Durant) that are freakishly athletic and have those crazy bodies. It kinda gives guys that don't get the good genetics to play basketball or football to be competitive and make good money and to have their own thing. I think it is great. I'm happy with where esports are going and that it is getting the love that it should. I think that it is just going to continue to grow."
Twin Galaxies: Now it is time to talk about the infamous Fortnite sneakers. How did those come to be?
Josh Hart: "Haha. There is this guy, Sal (Salvador Amezcua) that goes by the name Kickstrodamis. He is a big kicks customizer, and I met him. He does a lot of Karl Anthony-Towns' kicks, and that is where I first saw his work. I saw him do KAT's Halloween Jason sneakers, and I am like 'Those are crazy, I gotta work with this dude'. He is also a Lakers fan, so it was perfect. I had him do some Kobe tributes for Mamba Day. My brother and I were then talking to him All-Star Weekend, and my brother mentioned that we should do a Fortnite one, and I was like 'That is amazing'. After that, we did it, we put the gamer tags on there and all of that. He is an amazing artist, and it just took off from there. It was our idea, but he put the work and the love into it."
Twin Galaxies: Any future editions of the Fortnite sneakers that fans can look forward to seeing?
Josh Hart: "They are going to have to stay tuned. I'm going to have some fire on the court next year."
Twin Galaxies: Ok. It is time for the last and most important question of this entire interview. Who is the best Fortnite player in the entire NBA?
Josh Hart: "Oh it's me without a doubt. I won Bleacher Report's Fortnite player of the year because I am the best. It's not even close. Larry Nance is going to try to dispute that. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Terrence Ross are also going to try and dispute it, but I mean it is what it is. They can't be mad about it. I'm the king of Fortnite in the NBA. Epic, we are going to have to figure this out. We are going to have to get an all NBA server one day and get to the bottom of this."
You heard the man, Epic Games. We had the E3 2018 Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am. Now it is time to have an official NBA Fortnite showdown match.
You can stay up to date with all of the Fortnite and NBA adventures that Josh Hart will be going on by following his Twitter account.
(cover photo courtesy of Josh Hart)