It used to be of the consensus that video games were a waste of time, much like watching television. It was only recently that esports has been accepted as a mainstream career path like traditional sports athletes. The success of esports is largely thanks to some of the talented players who keep the passion for games alive. From tactical shooters to multiplayer online battle arenas, and everything in between, plug in and visit the hometowns of the esports players Hall of Fame that put gaming on the career map today.
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok spent most of his teenage years like most boys in the Gangseo District. He played video games such as Warcraft, Chaos, and the game that made his name in esports, League of Legends. In his rookie year, Faker led his team to win their first World Championship. He then went on to the World Championship three more times and shows no signs of slowing down.
Gangseo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The youngest player to ever win a premier Korean tournament in Starcraft hails from Daejeon. Lee “Flash” Young-ho was only 14 years old when he absolutely dominated the competition in 2007. Today, he doesn’t compete as often, but he continues to play the Starcraft series and broadcasts his games on AfreecaTV.
Daejeon, South Korea
Clement “Puppey” Ivanov proves time and time again that he is one of the smartest players in Dota 2, the sequel to Defense of the Ancients (DotA). The Estonian player from Tartu has always experimented with drafts, especially in crucial matches; eventually paving the way for his team to win a million dollars in the first Dota 2 International.
“The god of 2D fighting games” and “The Beast” are just some of the monickers given to the greatest Street Fighter player, Daigo Umehara. Daigo began going to the local arcade centers in Tokyo at the age of 10 and absolutely crushed anyone in Street Fighter II. Even at the ripe old (by gaming standards) age of 39, Daigo still consistently makes tournament appearances.
Only one name comes to mind when you think of the early days of Dota 2, and that name is Danil “Dendi” Ishutin from Lviv, Ukraine. Not only was Dendi one of the most dominant mid-laners in the game, but he was also beloved by fans for his chaotic and zany personality. They just loved to root for him, especially his signature Pudge.
Lviv Oblast, Ukraine, 79000
Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel was the first pro-gamer to live out the American dream through esports. The country boy from Kansas City competed in Quake tournaments in 1999 and went on to be the most successful Quake player of his time. He has since retired “Fatal1ty” the player, but now owns the Fatal1ty brand of gaming accessories.
Kansas City, MO, USA
Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf might raise a few eyebrows as he has only been an esports athlete for less than two years, but it’s worth noting that the Fortnite player from Pennsylvania won USD3,000,000 in the first Fortnite World Cup in 2019. He won the tournament by nearly doubling the second placer’s score.
Counter-Strike is the granddaddy of all competitive team shooters as the game’s competitive scene has been around for almost 20 years. Although very young at the age of 22, Oleksandr “S1mple” Kostyliev has been playing the game since he was 4 years old in Kyiv. He has since grown into one of the players in the world to take on the sniper role.
The title of the greatest Counter-Strike player of all time easily goes to Patrick “f0rest” Lindberg from Upplands Väsby. He began playing competitively in 2005 and won his first tournament at only 16 years old. He then went on to become part of the highest-earning team in 2009 with the Fnatic roster and then the longest running top rated team in the world: Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Upplands Väsby, Sweden
Johan “N0tail” Sundstein from Copenhagen dominated the Heroes of Newerth scene when he was only 15 years old until he eventually moved on to Dota 2. He went on to be the first and only team captain to win The International twice and has since made over USD6,000,000 in tournament winnings.More details