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SKT Bang reflects his “toughest year”

Riot Games revealed a sneak peek of SKT's League of Legends World Championship skins.
Riot Games revealed a sneak peek of SKT's League of Legends World Championship skins. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.

SK Telecom T1’s AD Carry Bae “Bang” Jun-Sik almost gave up on his professional gaming career after last year’s League of Legends World Championship.

As part of two of SKT’s three world championships, Bang has been under the spotlight, even being called the “best AD Carry in the world” by fans. But with notoriety comes pressure, and in an interview with OSEN’s Ko Yong-Jun, Bang said all the attention made for a difficult year.

“This year was the toughest,” he said. “Apart from my performance, with more attention on me, I felt the pressure to defend my claim as ‘the best ADC in the world.’ I was always fine in game, but there was some controversy about me outside of it. I would see curious photoshops of me on community sites, and I was surprised when I heard people thought my interviews were insincere. I was very confused at times when I realized that my intentions were not always aligned with the perceptions from the people around me. After last year’s victory, I kind of felt empty. I even wondered if I should keep doing what I was doing, so I received psycho counseling after (Kang “Blank” Sun-Gu). I think this year was one where I searched for myself.”

In reality, Bang confessed that it still hasn’t hit him yet that he just came back home after winning worlds, simply saying that he feels like “a game has happened, and we won and not much else.” Bang also said that he includes “mind control” into his routine so that he may maintain his confidence in whatever game he needs to play next.

“I had some difficult moments that aren’t just around the world championships, but I do some mind control,” he said. “I kept telling myself that even if the team does take a step backward, no one is better than me at what I do. I actually had the confidence as well. I kept my thoughts comfortable, thinking that even when the team loses, the bot lane didn’t. I’ve said that I can always do better than my opponents. I also think there was no bot duo better than ours.”

In search for a happier time during his career from KT Rolster Arrows to Xenics Blast, Bang pointed out the moment in 2015 when the team system was locked in to be the “happiest and most fun.”

Bang also went through a significant change since last year, dropping a surprising amount of weight and now being known as one of the better looking members of the team. The beginning of his weight loss wasn’t really health related, but more as a hobby.

“My working out wasn’t for my health, but rather something I started to have fun with during the down time in December while preparing for the upcoming season,” he said. “Since it started being fun, I just started to find the gym. I lost about 25kg (about 55 pounds) but now I gained four back. With this December I’ll have more time, so I want to work out harder to look even better.”

It’s no secret that Bang is happy where he is with the team, and it’s his wish to stay on the current roster as long as he can. Still, staying with SKT comes with a couple of big conditions.

“I want to stay on the team next season as well,” he said. “It’s good to get a higher salary, but I want to stay here even more. Of course that would be if my teammates and coaches stay the same as well. I think our team revolves around the coach, and I love that. I was to remain with these great teammates and coaches.”

Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games

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