SK Telecom T1 opened its League of Legends World Championship defense with a win Friday against Cloud9. Slingshot’s Andrew Kim caught up with Bae “Bang” Jun-Sik afterward to talk (in Korean and then translated to English) about returning to worlds, SKT’s form and just how sick he really is of League of Legends.
Andrew Kim: This marks your second World Championships. Does it feel different every time?
Bae “Bang” Jun-Sik: Honestly, I got really used to it. It doesn’t feel like anything, like everyday life, since we went to every Riot hosted event since last year. We had little time to rest so this just feels normal.
AK:KkOma and the head coach mentioned that it was tough on the players to attend every single major tournament. How does it feel for a player?
BJS: It certainly is tough with the time we spend moving here to there. We still need to practice a lot and we don’t get a lot of time off. Because of that, I personally felt doubtful about my life before. Of course I also want to play and do other stuff, but as a professional making it to every major stage of tournaments is something I find pride in. If we do well, it’s good for us, the team as well. There are tough times, but you work through it.
AK: With all that stress and lack of free time how do you maintain the mentality to perform?
BJS: I don’t do anything special. I just find joy in the small things from day to day.
AK: One of the more controversial statements you made was when you mentioned that you were sick of playing League of Legends in a post match interview with the OGN casters. Could you go more in detail about that?
BJS: It means that League isn’t any fun or interesting anymore compared to other things. I’ve been playing games for such a long time, it became just another part of my life. It’s definitely something special to me, but now it doesn’t feel that way. I just approach it like it’s work. I’m sure each player has their own mindset for what they do, but that’s what I think. Honestly I get sick of everything quickly. I’m sick of League, but I’m more sick of everything else.
AK: Despite being sick of playing League, you are still one of the best AD Carries in the world. Enough to be called the world’s best during 2014~15.
BJS: At the time I was still in the mindset that I was the best because I worked harder than anyone else. But lately that has changed, since I see more people who work just as hard but not reach the places that they aspire to. I still work the hardest I can, but I do think talent does play a part in my performance.
AK: SK Telecom T1 has been under a lot of criticism from both Korean and International fans due to comparatively poor performances. Did that impact the players at all?
BJS: I think it actually helped us out in a way. There were a lot of fans who think that SKT will win no matter what, so I was nervous every game, and even thought what would happen if we lost. Of course we have to win, but we do feel a little more comfort.
AK: KkOma mentioned that the harsh criticism actually helped the team in their practice process. How was it?
BJS: We changed the manner which we entered practice. We became more aware, more sensitive, with more focus.
AK: Lastly, you of course have to go through a lot of hoops when you compete in international tournaments as much as SKT does. What’s the toughest thing about that?
BJS: I don’t like getting on planes. It’s kind of annoying doing my own laundry and stuff. I don’t like those everyday annoyances.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games