CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – Xavier St. John is what you would call a journeyman.

“I got traded to Cleveland,” St. John explained. “Then, like a week after I got traded to Cleveland, I got traded here.”

Now that he’s settled in the Queen City, the 27-year-old St. Louis native understands it is all part of the game, but just so we’re clear, it’s not the game you’re thinking of.

“I mean, it’s performance-based,” said coach Lawrence West. “We’re in a business where we need to perform.”

The business he’s talking about is e-sports, an industry where yes, actual physical trades exist. St. John is a star player for the Hornets Venom GT, playing under the gamer tag Big Saint.

“The game day energy is the same as the game day when I was in college (and) game day in high school,” St. John said.

Scoff if you want, but with serious cash on the line every season in the NBA 2k League, St. John and his four teammates, who already earn a base salary of $38,000, could be the ones laughing on their way to the bank.

“Outside looking in, it looks fun and dandy,” said West, the head coach of Hornets Venom GT. “To some people, it’s dreamed of, but the ones who actually get a job, you’re playing for $2.5 million. It’s very stressful.”

An observer of a typical day on the job would see that.

Tucked inside a small corner of the Spectrum, the team is hard at work. In fact, with West barking orders, a Hornets Venom GT practice sounds very similar to a Hornets basketball practice.

“Like certain aspects of actual basketball, coaching is needed,” West says. “Certain aspects of the game is needed (like) pick and roll.”

Eight hours later, the day concludes, and sometimes the players come out a little worse for wear.

“I never sprained a thumb, but sometimes I get a tingly feeling in my fingers,” St. John said.

It’s a hazard of the job, but just like LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier, these guys are pros and members of the Hornets organization.

“Guys say you really do work for the Charlotte Hornets? And it’s like, ‘yeah!'” St. John smiled.

Well, at least that’s the case for now.