Back in elementary school days in the 90s I used to collect NBA cards. Michale Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman (who went a little weird politically), Grant Hill, Hakim Olajuwon, David Robinson, Jason Kidd, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Anthony Hathaway (did I get the name right?), Gary Payton, Patrick Wing, and etc.. I’m pretty surprised that I can still write these names down on top of my head without a single Google Search even with this deteriorating brain memory of mine and I don’t follow NBA nowadays at all. I guess if you really liked something, that something becomes part of your permanent memory.
So back to esports. The Starcraft professional league that started off around 2003-4 was like the NBA back in my favorite period. I can still list up at least about the same number of esports star players that I just did for NBA. But I won’t do that because this time I want to get in a little deeper than a list.
I guess it would be fair to begin with Lim Yo-Hwan.
He is more known by his player ID, SlayerS_`BoxeR`, a Terran user who were perhaps the very first to reach the stardom in Starcraft league. Simple analogy: He is the Roger Federer of esports. Despite his, a bit higher than the average gamer, age his play was very… “outside of the box” (although this expression itself is extremely “inside the box”), defying all the typical strategy and tactics but creating of his own. We called him the Terran Emperor. You could tell that he is very smart, creative and just loves games in general. He was also very good looking, attracting many female fans. (Years later, he actually got married to a famous actress, which I will get to it later).
Speaking of Lim Yo-Hwan, there is someone we always remember in pair. Hong Jin-Ho, also known as [NC]…YellOw, is a Zerg user who shares the same era as the BoxeR. His play style was to let his opponent feel that he is omni-present like a storm, so soon he got a nickname “Storm Zerg”. Now this guy is one of those who has many nicknames and probably the most known nickname is “No. 2”. Why? Because he always made it up to the finals, but always end of being No. 2, mostly defeated by SlayerS_BoxeR. I know Koreans can be quite brutal with name picking… But this guy was a real man and managed to embrace it — No. 2 became his own brand and character to the public, in a very friendly and positive way. It almost gave the public impression that “it’s ok to be No. 2 because we got YellOw”. Such a forgiving message to this merciless, competitive world!
More to follow.