Riot Games League of Legends Championship Series took the city of Houston by storm reeling in tens of thousands of competitive computer gaming fans to NRG Stadium this past weekend to witness the best players in the world compete.
To the surprise of many Evil Geniuses, an American-based team out of Seattle dominated the weekend, sweeping both Team Liquid and 100 Thieves with convincing 3-0 victories in best-of-five matches.
In a sport primarily run by players of Korean and European descent, the fact that two North American teenagers Kyle “Danny” Sakamaki (age 18) and Joseph “JoJo” Pyun (age 17) were the standout performers makes onw think there may be a chance for these two players to change the tune of esports.
However, seeing that there was no representation from Black or Brown communities on the stage, the Defender spoke with fans, experts and executives within the industry to discover ways people of color can raise trophies in LOL Championships.
Chris Greeley, head of North American Esports at Riot Games
“Getting kids to sit down and try a bunch of different games primarily with their friends because the social experience is really the dynamic that changes everything. If you go sit and play League of Legends by yourself for 10 hours it is a vastly different experience than when four friends sit down.”
Barento “Raz” Mohammed, League of Legends coach & personality
“For me, growing up, I really clung to community center events that were like high school clubs. I had a university club for myself but for me it was always grassroots, and hopefully the community can invest into stuff like that because they do that for community basketball, soccer and sports and I do believe the future is with games like League of Legends…For me I found friendship, connection and myself through community centers.”
Travis Gafford, esports journalist & personality
“I think there is a really big opportunity for cities to develop PC gaming areas where people can go and play [at] a very low cost or preferably free way. If you look at Korea, which is fantastic and amazing at esports, they’ve been able to do that in part because they have a huge culture there of PC gaming cafes where it is very affordable for people who want to play those games to go do so.”
Randini the Genie, League of Legends gamer & organizer
“I think it is really just a lack of exposure for Black people…We do play games at the same rate as other demographics but I just think we never thought about going to the heights of being a pro.”
Johnathan aka “Mero West,” League of Legends gamer fan
“…The computers I grew up with were kind of like hand-me-downs that primarily run XP Windows or something, but I feel like [if would help] if you had a lot of community centers and maybe even school groups that would actually incorporate more computers and teaching kids and parents other things to do like we see with the NBA. A lot of kids like to play video games but don’t have access…”
“We might have one professional contract that is below $100,000 these days and the maximum is seven figures.”
Chris Greeley, Head of North American Esports at Riot Games
For extended coverage and video interviews from the League of Legends Spring Championships Series visit www.defendernetwork.com