Joey “Lucky” Aldama, a Super Smash Bros Melee Fox player from southern California, has long been touted as the best unsponsored player in the game, though that might come to an end in the not so distant future.
Lucky has had preliminary talks with Echo Fox — the multi-gaming organization owned by former LA Laker Rick Fox — in hopes of reaching an agreement to join the team. Asked about the potential of joining Echo Fox and what the sponsorship would mean to him, Lucky had the following to say:
“The second I heard about Echo Fox, I’m just a League of Legends fan kind of, so when I saw there was an LCS team with a fox logo I was like, ‘Yo there is an LCS team with a fox like who is that? I need to get on that team!” he said with an ear-to-ear smile. “I came to find out it was owned by Rick Fox and thought, ‘Oh my god this sounds perfect.’ So then I tried to contact them. We’ve maybe talked a little bit here and there. Who knows what will happen. I would love to be on Echo Fox. LA, Lakers fan, my whole family loves the Lakers.”
It wouldn’t be the first fighting game player signed to Echo Fox in recent weeks. Newly appointed CEO Jace Hall — owner of Monolith Productions and Twin Galaxies — took it upon himself as his first order of business to pursue members of fighting game community.
@LegendofLucky dm me
— Jace Hall (@JaceHall) April 24, 2016
“The FGC is an important competitive gaming area from Echo Fox’s perspective,” Hall told Slingshot on Wednesday via email. “There is a lot of incredible talent, passion, and excitement present in that space. We have reached out to and been contacted by many great players from the various parts of the FGC community, and have had numerous conversations across the board as we figure out the right step by step approach to take in this very important gaming area.”
Echo Fox announced April 29 the signing of professional Street Fighter V player Julio Fuentes, and his first event under the Echo Fox brand would be DreamHack Austin. Lucky also attended DreamHack this weekend, still unsponsored.
“I’m kind of in a situation where I am the best unsponsored player so I can’t really afford to pay for a flight where I’m not guaranteed to make money back. In general, I’ve flown out a lot over the last two years and I don’t think I’ve payed for a single flight,” Lucky said. “That is probably the perk of being the No. 1 unsponsored player. I can’t tell you how often I get approached and [tournament organizers] are like, ‘We want to invite you out to this tournament, but you’re not sponsored, so that is kind of the main reason we are coming to you. If we invite someone who is sponsored it is kind of silly, they can just get their sponsor to pay for it.’”
Lucky placed fifth at Dreamhack Austin after losing to Joseph “Mango” Marquez and Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma, who placed first and second, respectively.
“I think I am good enough to beat any of the gods, I am good enough to beat anyone in the top 20, and mentality can be one of the biggest obstacles in terms of people being consistent,” Lucky said. “Yeah, skill is important, but if we just play at home we are going to play amazing, right? What is the difference between playing amazing there and out here? It’s the mentality, the ability to deal with pressure.
“I feel like the more I can get into top eight, the better I’m going to start doing against these top level players, and the closer I’ll get to winning a championship.”
With the exception of Genesis 3 in January, Lucky has placed in the top 16 of every tournament he has attended within the last 22 months, dating back to July of 2014 — including 11 of 19 top-eight finishes. Despite the consistent nature of his play, Lucky said it didn’t feel that way.
“Prior to this year, I was convinced I was at a very close place to my peak in terms of overall skill, but I wasn’t there in terms of consistency,” he said. “I thought that I was about top 10 in the world. The more this year goes on, I kinda had a bad start to this year and even then, every time I lose I feel like I’m getting better. It’s almost to the point where I think I can get way better than I ever thought possible.“
Echo Fox is a new organization that has already established a penchant for trying to find unheralded and up-and-coming players. If ever there was another Fox to have an Echo placed in front of its name, Lucky surely fits the bill.
Cover photo by Robert Paul/DreamHack.