ESports are quickly becoming more popular with the rise of competitive games like Star Craft 2 DOTA 2 and League of Legends, to the point where becoming a professional gamer in a country such as South Korea is a viable career option for players who are good enough to win at a competitive level.
ESports players are now becoming revered around the world, and probably won’t be long until they are revered globally at the same level as sports stars, however, there’s still a big difference between the two.
In the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, there was a big shake up of how basketball was going to be played in the Olympics, mainly because in 1992, a vote was passed that allowed NBA players to play for the United States Olympic basketball team, and there is no bigger name in basketball than Michael Jordan, who was the main star of this team.
The team was named the “Dream Team”, as it was filled with 11 of the best NBA players at the time and 1 college player, and the team was so popular when they arrived in Barcelona that they needed a police escort from the moment they stepped of the plane. Throughout the Olympics that year, basketball obviously became the main attraction of the games as all of their games were sold out, and crowds of people would wait outside the stadium and even outside their hotel room just to get a glimpse of the dream team.
After last week’s documentary on eSports “State of Play”, I got my first experience seeing everything else in the world of eSports that isn’t on stage, as I haven’t seen how they live their lives off stage and how they interact with their fans (I didn’t know individual players had fans), and how much emotion goes into the games they play, and autoethnography helps understand the cultural differences and the surprising similarities between professional sports and professional eSports. It was a nice thing to see that being a professional gamer in South Korea isn’t shunned or something to be embarrassed about, but something that is celebrated by thousands.
After watching documentaries on eSports and sports (State of Play and The Dream Team), I got to see that eSports have a much larger fan base than I probably ever thought they would, and that it is a viable career option, and the popularity of eSports in general. Also doing this blog I found it really unfair to try and compare eSports to the 1992 Dream Team, as both are popular, but the Dream Teams popularity leaves eSports in the dust, yes, both have great fan bases, but the Dream Team proved that they were incredibly popular in every country they played in (America, Monaco and Spain), and Michael Jordan had a 35 foot poster on the side of a building in Barcelona. The Dream Team was so popular that they had opposing team players asking for autographs and taking photos of the American team while they were on the bench.
As a basketball fan and a gamer, it was a lot of fun getting to learn about eSports in Asian cultures and getting to sit down and watch a couple of hours of basketball documentaries and highlights from the 1992 Olympics (especially during Olympic season).