The Swedish Larry Bird joins Shaq and Rick Fox in the eSports arena.
Once owned by Cristopher “Montecristo” Mykles, the Renegades eSports organization now belongs to Jonas Jerebko.
While the organization currently fields a Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty team, Renegades might best be known for their ban from the League of Legends Championship Series on May 9th, 2016. This decision bares some similar qualities to another controversy of the past year, as Riot Games had taken the role of judge, jury, and executioner in deciding Mykles’ fate following a shady investigation.
Riot was suspicious of the activity between the Renegades and Team Dragon Knights organizations regarding an exchange of player contracts that seemed far more beneficial to Renegades as well as the relationship between Mykles and Chris Badawi, as Badawi was banned for a year due to an attempt at player poaching, and Riot was under the impression that Mykles had offered Badawi an ownership stake in the team once the ban was over, infringing on the ban.
It was later revealed in ESPN’s article by Jacob Wolf and Mykles’ vlog recounting his communication with Riot Games that he never gave up any ownership of his organization, and that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t promise Badawi any future ownership as it would have to be approved by Riot Games.
He also discussed that the “one-sided” trade was executed because both teams had agreed that their rosters would improve moving forward not only due to each player’s individual talent but by the synergy they would form with their new teammates. The only other notable dispute, between a coach and a player, was an argument that was resolved within a day’s time. Given this information, Riot still ordered Mykles to sell his LCS spot 30 minutes before publicly announcing his ban.
About one month after Riot’s decision, Tom Brady accepted his four game suspension from the NFL despite commissioner Roger Goodell failing to provide definitive evidence that he tampered with the air pressure of footballs prior to a 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts to claim the 2014 AFC title on his way to his 4th Super Bowl victory.
While the investigative process was surely much different in each case, the end result still teaches us an important lesson about the two leagues: your job isn’t safe so long as the men behind the curtain have absolute power.
As League of Legends is the most lucrative game to be involved in, as seen with its massive viewership on Twitch, Mykles will missing out on potential millions of dollars without a league team.
Jonas Jerebko joins Rick Fox, owner of Echo Fox, and Shaquille O’Neal, co-owner of NRG, in the cast of NBA talent to invest in eSports. Coincidentally, all three have played for the Celtics, and two have played for the Lakers.
As an NBA junkie and avid video gamer (It physically pains me to use the word “gamer”), I’m excited to see my two favorite hobbies intersect, and more importantly, witness one supporting the other. eSports has lacked credibility and stability in its infancy, as seen in the case of Mykles and Renegades. High-profile personalities bringing big money to the industry can lay the foundation for stable leagues, which many young players depend on when they move out of their homes to join a team house.
While I don’t follow any games closely besides League, I’ll still be interested to see how his other teams fare in upcoming tournaments, namely the Call of Duty world championship starting in September.