From hobby to career: stories of professional Esports players

Do you ever sit at home watching CS2 Major or LEC and LCS and wonder how the pro players became what they are today? There are many great pro players on the esports scene at the moment. Many of them started playing video games at a very early age, but each story is different. I chose to talk about the best, or at least, some of the best players in CS2, League of Legends, and VALORANT and their journey to greatness. Let’s dive in.

Stories of greatness

Without a doubt, the majority of video game lovers play games for fun and out of a hobby. In some rare cases, the hobby can become a very well-paid career. That’s what happened to s1mple, Faker, and TenZCS, League of Legends, and VALORANT best.

Faker and T1

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is considered the best in League of Legends. His story begins with a single parent who was sure his son would make it as a pro player. Since the inception of the esports industry eastern Asian countries have first recognized the potential of the industry and invested in it. Faker’s father nudged the Unkillable Demon King to start playing games. T1 midlaner began his journey with a MOBA game called CHAOS. After that, he switched to LoL, sometime in late 2011. It wasn’t long after that T1 (SKT1) contacted him to play in their second team.

Faker who had just started high school decided to pursue the gamer dream and drop out. The rest as they say is history. Only two years later, in 2013, he won his first World Championship, and now as we know he has four, along with countless domestic titles in LCK.

S1mple’s struggling journey

Another player considered (and probably is/was) the best in his game is Oleksandr ”s1mple” Kostyliev. Just like Faker, s1mple also started gaming early on. He started by playing Counter-Strike 1.6 inspired by his older brother who he used to watch play. As there was only one computer in the house, s1mple didn’t have the possibility to play whenever he wanted, but to wait his turn. Something I think many of us with a sibling can relate to.

S1mple started playing CS:GO as soon as it was released in 2012. He played the game for one year before he stepped into the competitive scene in a semi-pro tournament with the local team Lan Dodgers. After that, he signed for Courage Gaming and then HellRaisers who had many superstar players in the team. This led to one of the problems in his early career resulting in toxic behavior. That and the ban from his CS 1.6 days made him miss a couple of majors. However, in the end, as we know he became a well-respected AWPer and now has around 20 MVPs, Major, and other high-tier tournament titles under his name.

Race for best VALORANT player

Pro VALORANT players in most cases switched from CS:GO to the Riot’s FPS. The same thing goes for TenZ, who is considered one of the best in the game. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo started playing video games when he was only three years old. At the age of 15, he competed at his first LAN event which his mom first had to approve. Similar to Faker and his father, TenZ’s mother also saw the potential in gaming (even though it took some convincing).

After high school TenZ signed for Cloud9 and competed shortly for their CS:GO team. Some time he was a streamer for the org and then VALORANT beta came knocking on his door. TenZ became the first player to hit Radiant on VALORANT and that brought him a lot of recognition and respect. The fact that he is protanomaly colorblind didn’t stop him from making 40 kills on Breeze at VCT 2022: North America Stage 2 Challengers tournament. As VALORANT is still young we have yet to see what Tenz will do in the future. So far he already has two VCT titles and a couple of MVP awards.

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