Perhaps one of Korea’s most eligible bachelors right now is SK Telecom T1’s coach Kim “kkOma” Jung-gyun. Successful, well known, probably makes a lot of cash, and is often cited by many to be quite easy on the eyes. Most importantly, the man is desperate to get married — but he just can’t get it done.
KkOma’s single status has transcended from a joke to a meme not only in Korea, but now also in North America and pretty much any fan of SKT, the reigning League of Legends world champion. Some fans even went as far as making a mock advertisement banner for the coach, which hung outside the finals arena for 2016’s LCK spring split. High profile enough to necessitate a recorded segment in the finals, kkOma has embraced his single status almost like a badge of dubious honor, as a man unable to find a soulmate despite his specs.
“The players are saying those things (on social media) because they feel so sorry for me,” kkOma said, when asked if he was behind his players’ continue mention of their coach’s single status. “I never force them to make those posts.”
Looking back at this meme, it was something that kkOma himself has pushed for quite some time. Often taking to social media to complain about how he’s spending Christmas alone, talking about how jealous he is of the head coach of SKT Choi “cCarter” Byung-hoon for having a wife and beautiful children, and even his coworkers and players often playing up his single status through their own social media channels.
During all of this, there will be not one, but two high-profile marriages in Korean professional League of Legends this year. The first is Samsung Galaxy’s jungler Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong, who will reportedly marry fiancé Maeng Sol-ji next week at the age of 24. The second is Jeong “NoFe” No-chul, former ROX Tigers coach, who recently revealed that he would be marrying his fiancé Lee Sae-jin this September at the age of 29. Good friend and colleague Lee Ji-hoon, head coach of KT Rolster, has been married, and his wife and recently gave birth a daughter. What has kkOma been doing all this time, not finding a girl friend and settling down? Winning.
There isn’t some faustian deal that kkOma signed where he changed a life time of a happily married life in exchange for world dominance. KkOma has turned into a man with everything except for a married life, even spending his time and money on a legendary collection of Legos. Although he complains often about his loveless life, does he really regret the life choices he made?
“It’s not that he can’t get married,” head coach Choi “cCarter” Byung-hoon said in an interview with Fomos’ Park Sang-jin. “He’s just not getting married.”
KkOma is a workaholic for sure. How else would he be awake to drag Han “Peanut” Wang-ho away from a late-night drunk stream? That’s an act that showed some serious dedication and an insane information network. A professional gaming life is often too full to include time for a significant other, and perhaps because of his dedication to his work he is in his own way of getting married, bringing three world championship trophies home instead.
If a proper civilian life is the cost for excellence in esports, what would kkOma’s answer be? Will he retire in order to find love? Or will he simply truck along, still riding on the comedy value that is his single life?
Which would you choose?