T1 mid-laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok has been named Best Esports Athlete at The Game Awards 2023, kicking off what became a slew of victories for League of Legends, Valorant, and Riot Games as a whole.
Faker has collected yet another trophy in 2023. The four-time League of Legends World Champion received the Best Esports Athlete Award at The Game Awards 2023. Other nominees in the category included Counter-Strike’s Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, Valorant’s Max “Demon1” Mazanov, Call of Duty’s Paco “HyDra” Rusiewiez, Apex Legends’ Phillip “ImperialHal” Dosen, and League of Legend’s Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk.
The recognition comes days after Faker was named the Esports PC Player of the Year at The Esports Awards, a decision that was deemed unfair by some online personalities. The criticism stemmed from the claim that Faker hasn’t actually been the best in League of Legends in recent years, an argument that divided fans. This new award is likely to spark more controversy in the following days.
In 2023, Faker and the T1 reached the LCK Finals in both the Spring Season and Summer Season. T1 would end up losing both finals against Gen.G. T1 qualified for the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational where it finished in third place. At Worlds 2023, T1 stood as the last LCK representative standing and was deemed the “LPL slayer” along the way. While League of Legends is a team game, Faker’s impact on the T1 roster is undeniable, despite questions about whether he should be lined up for awards.
In the middle of the 2023 LCK Summer Season, Faker took a brief break while recovering from a wrist injury. During this time, the team struggled on the server, risking its Worlds qualification as a result. Once Faker returned to the active roster, T1 found its footing once again and made it to the LCK finals. On different occasions, players have been open about Faker’s impact on their gameplay and his influence on the team as a whole.
Riot Games wins big in Esports categories at The Game Awards
Riot Games’ titles claimed every esports-related award at The Game Awards 2023, including Best Esports Game and Best Esports Event.
It wasn’t just Faker taking home prizes at The Game Awards. A Riot Games title or competitor took every award in the esports category at The Game Awards this year. Evil Geniuses Valorant coach Christine “potter” Chi was named Best Esports Coach and Valorant itself received the Best Esports Game award. The 2023 League of Legends World Championship received the award for Best Esports Event and one of its participants, JD Gaming was awarded Best Esports Team.
Valorant quickly established itself as one of the top esports titles in the world, and League of Legends continues holding on. Neither game seems like it will go away any time soon.