eSports is a rising professional sport with an ever-improving public image. Slowly but surely, it’s becoming an international sensation, turning everyday gamers into household names. The stars of professional gaming are now working their way into the top tier of professional athletes, earning in the millions of dollars through tournaments and sponsorship.
It’s not surprising. League Of Legends, for example, a popular eSports title, has more than 30 million players worldwide. That’s a large market of potentially interested viewers of eSports, evident in the packed stadiums around the world that watch the best LoL players compete for ultimate glory.
The rise of Twitch has also played a pretty big part, with many pro players either having graduated from Twitch onto the big stage, or turning to entertainment and embracing the streaming platform to build an audience. Whether it’s CS:GO, Call Of Duty, Overwatch, Starcraft or LoL, the best gamers around the world are essentially guaranteed celebrity status.
Some pro players are bigger and better than the rest, however, so let’s take a look at some of the best eSports players of all time.
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Joseph ‘Mango’ Marquez
Super Smash Bros.
Mango is often considered one of if not the greatest Super Mario Bros. Melee player in the world, and of all time. He is often ranked near the top of the SoCal Melee Power Rankings and the SSBMRank, mainly due to his diverse skill range and ability to play across a number of different characters (whereas other players generally focus on 1 or 2 characters throughout their career). He’s been extremely damaging and successful with Fox, Falco, Marth, Jigglypuff, Mario, Captain Falcon, and Link, and the SSB community often consider him the best Fox player in the world. While he finished 13th at his most recent tournament in December, he’s still a highly regarded player, and stands to sit atop “best ever” lists for a long time to come.
Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun
MVP is a Terran player heralding from South Korea. Four-time GSL champion and winner of a WCG, BlizzCon, MLG, and IEM, MVP has often been referred to as the best StarCraft II player in the world. He’s earned more than $300,000 in the StarCraft II Wings of liberty era, one of only three players to do so. While he’s since retired and had a small stint playing Heart Of The Storm, he still stands as one of the greatest eSports players ever. He’s received widespread mainstream attention, with CNN having chronicled his rise and successes as a pro gamer in a report on eSports.
Seth “Scump” Abner
Call Of Duty
The two-time Major League Gaming (MLG) X Games gold medalist, Scump is one of the more recognisable eSports athletes going around. Currently the captain of OpTic Gaming, he has had a long and storied Call Of Duty pro history, evolving into numerous lucrative sponsorship deals with major peripheral and hardware brands. He’s won more than a quarter of a million dollars playing Call Of Duty, namely Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and has more than a million subscribers on YouTube and as much followers on Twitter.
Tom “OGRE 2” Ryan
OGRE 2 is widely known as the greatest Halo player of all time. He and his twin brother Dan (“Ogre 1”) are known as the “Ogre Twins”, and together won the gold medal in Halo 2 at the World Cyber Games in 2005. Tom and Dan often played together to form a powerful one-two punch, but OGRE 2 also has an established career with multiple pro teams, including Instinct, Shoot to Kill, Team Domination, DtO, Final Boss, and Team3D. Up until Halo 4, Ogre 2 was the only player to become national champion of every game in the Halo series.
Christopher ” GeT_RiGhT” Alesund
This is up for much debate, because the CS community is so divided as to who the “best ever” pro CS player is. One thing’s for sure, however, and that’s that GeT_RiGhT (gotta love that username) is definitely one of the best. He’s been playing since 2007, and is well-known for all-round consistency and “clutch” play: the ability to come out on top and beat an opponent during tense moments. Few could argue that his game IQ is through the roof, making him an invaluable asset to any pro team. His style of play is such that opposing teams need to completely change their strategy to play around him, giving GeT_RiGhT’s team an immediate advantage from the get-go.