Lee Sang Hyuk is a professional League of Legends player who competes for the SK Telecom T1 team. To his fans, he is better known by his gamer tag, Faker.
Since his debut as a pro-gamer in 2013, Faker has gone on to become one of the top League of Legends players. His team coach even considers him the Michael Jordan of gaming!
“When compared to other sports, [Faker] is like Michael Jordan to basketball, or Ronaldo or Messi to soccer.” — Kim Jung Kyun (SK T1 Coach)
In China, Faker has more fans than some idol groups. The recent League of Legends World Championship held in China sold out their 40,000 seat venue due to his popularity.
There were no Chinese nationals competing. The two competing teams, SKT T1 and Samsung Galaxy, were both Korean teams. Despite this, tickets sold out within 1 minute due to the overwhelming amount of fans who wanted to watch Faker compete live.
On that day, rival team Samsung Galaxy ended up winning and Faker couldn’t hold back his tears.
Within hours, “Faker’s tears” was the top trending search term on Weibo. The search term even out-ranked Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo, who had left on their honeymoon that day.
Due to his popularity, Faker has filmed various commercials in China. Reports estimate that he has made over 5 billion KRW (approx. $4.62 million USD) from his winnings, sponsorships, and advertisements.
Faker has also received many extravagant gifts from fans. On his birthday, fans flew into Korea from China to put up a subway advertisement in his honor.
He gets so much love from his fans, that he doesn’t even envy idols!
“On my last birthday, I got 6 boxes of clothes, glasses, razors, and other necessities. I don’t know what celebrities get for gifts, but I think I get as much as they do.” — Faker
Check out a clip from the segment below: