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Channing Frye played World of Warcraft with Tim Duncan

Channing Frye Father

Are you an online gamer? You may not know it, but some of your favorite athletes are.

Maybe you favor combat-based games, such as Bungie’s smash hit, “Halo.” Some prefer a slower, strategy-based game, like Sid Meir’s “Civilization.” Apparently, if you’re Cleveland Cavaliers forward Channing Frye or former San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan, you indulged in Blizzard’s popular MMO game (massive multi-player online), “World of Warcraft.”

On the latest episode of the “Road Trippin with RJ and Channing” podcast, Richard Jefferson, a former member of the Spurs, Frye, and Duncan, a known quiet guy, opened up about their experiences with online gaming.

Duncan, a five-time NBA champion, and Frye, spent quite a bit of their down time playing World of Warcraft.

“Fun fact,” Frye said off-topic. “Me and Tim Duncan used to be in the same guild in World of Warcraft.”

Jefferson couldn’t contain his amusement and immediately burst into laughter. “Nerd alert!,” Jefferson belted out.

Frye, taking the conversation a bit deeper, revealed that Russian-born forward Andrei Kirilenko was also a big fan of “WoW,” as the game is often referred to as.

“Ok, we were serious, but how serious was Andrei Kirilenko, though?,” Frye said to Duncan.

Duncan, surprisingly open for a guy who let his work do most of talking, went in on Kirilenko’s love for the online game.

“Yea, he had like four or five maxed out players,” Duncan said of Kirilenko. “He was crazy.”

At one point, World of Warcraft was one of the most popular games in a crowded online market. If you’ve played an online game, you will know that real-life money can sometimes be involved. Sometimes, people sink large sums of cash into their online gaming accounts. It seems Kirilenko falls into that category.

“He had guys (characters) he could have sold for upwards of $100,000 each,” Frye said of Kirilenko. “People pay for characters, so the amount of time he put in, he had about eight of the highest level characters ever.

“I was gonna get a DNP (did not play) and we were in Utah,” Frye said as he began to recall a particular online run-in with Kirilenko. “It was three in the morning. All of a sudden, you see his character run across, and he’s like, ‘Channing! What’s up?’, and I’m like, ‘Don’t you play tomorrow?’, and he goes, ‘Yeeaa, probably.'”

Duncan, feeling comfortable with the conversation, began to laugh and spoke up.

“That was all of us, though!,” Duncan said with certainty. “We were all up until three and four in the morning (playing World of Warcraft).”

Jefferson, as honest as they come, chimed in on the conversation.

“I played the original Warcraft, which I really liked,” Jefferson said. “But I really never got into the World of Warcraft. That, to me, I don’t know… it just screams virgin.”

Allie Clifton, co-host of the podcast and sideline reporter for the Cavaliers, asked the guys if it was common for NBA players to participate together in online games.

“It depends on your nerd alert,” Jefferson quickly replied. “Some guys get 2K (basketball), some guys play against each other in Madden (football).”

Duncan seemed to take a friendly approach to linking up with other athletes for online gaming.

“If you find out people are gamers, you get their game tags,” Duncan said. “Once you get a game tag, you can see what everybody is playing.”

Duncan, now removed from the hustle and bustle of the everyday NBA grind, was asked if he still dabbles in online gaming.

“Umm, still playing C.O.D. (“Call of Duty”), Duncan replied. “I just started Ghost Recon, the new one, Wildlands or whatever it is. I’ve got a PlayStation everywhere.”

It seems Duncan, who pulled up to the interview in a vehicle with “less than four wheels,” as he says, is enjoying his retirement.

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