Professional competitive esports players consider themselves professional athletes.

Their games require mental and physical capabilities that are extraordinary as compared with the average gamer. They are signed to professional teams. They practice, compete and experience sports-related injuries just like LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers and Serena Williams. They get paid to play, just like Curry and Messi (well, maybe not just like, but you get the point). They are paid salaries and can win prize money. There are endorsement dollars for some, too. Just about everything an esports player does mirrors that of a professional athlete.

But some skeptics have a different take. Michael Jordan is an athlete—helicopter dunks, game-winning threes, taking down the Monstars in Space Jam, and so on. To a traditionalist, an esports player is just a kid in a basement playing video games. Although this view may be more than a little dated, it may still make sense for esports players to embrace a version of this self-image, at least in their nascent stages of making money.