Is Faker Becoming Arrogant Or Simply Getting Lost In Translation?

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is a figure of legendary status within eSports. The SK Telecom T1 star has long since been renowned as the greatest League of Legends player of all time, with an unprecedented three World Championships under his belt. Perhaps Faker’s most fascinating quality is that for all his success and his evident superiority over his rivals, the South Korean star has remained eternally humble; Faker is gracious in victory and also – well no, mostly just gracious in victory – there are few defeats to mention.

Amidst a flurry of off-season roster swaps and casual international events, the League of Legends eSports community has been awash with speculative rumours and misinterpreted player quotes. As an icon of both the east and western scenes, Faker’s passing comments on current affairs are closely examined and discussed – translated from Korean into a number of western languages.

Source: lolesports
Source: lolesports

Though Faker has a fairly solid grasp of the English language, the majority of his interview are conducted in English, requiring a translator to provide his opinion. Faker has been in the news frequently in recent weeks; his renewed contract, the new SKT roster and his attendance to Riot’s All-Stars event in Barcelona have all raised interesting talking points.

For the first time in his career, what emerged from Faker’s interviews were uncharacteristically savage comments and boastful, arrogant comments… something didn’t seem quite right:

“If I go abroad it might also help diminish the gap between other countries and Korea, that would be a really positive issue.”

(As reported by as.com)

“I thought a lot about the subject and I have been considering going abroad, but I thought winning another world championship with SKT would be for the best.”

(As reported by Slingshot eSports)

And perhaps most bizarrely:

“All-Stars is a place where you get to show off your class. It’s for fun, of course, but you can only have fun if you’re good.”

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, as reported by invenglobal.com

Source: Riot Games Flickr
Source: Riot Games Flickr

At first glance it appeared that Faker had been saving up his inner savagery for four years before finally unleashing it upon his rivals. No-one was suggesting even for a moment that Faker hadn’t earned the right to be self-assured in his abilities, but to now voice his superiority so bluntly took everyone by surprise.

Many bought into the prospect of Faker having flicked his switch, excited by the prospect of an even more ruthless SKT Mid Laner.

In reality, it emerged that Faker’s original quotes had been spiced up’ to produce a more intriguing story, purposely mis-translated from Korean. Faker never uttered the words “you can only have fun if you’re good”, nor did he suggest that his move abroad could trigger a shift in the League of Legends eSports landscape.

Instead, Faker’s actual comments were typically in line with the humble professional portrayed on stage:

“All Stars is a competition made to have fun, but I can only enjoy it if I do well”

“If the gap closes between Korea and other regions, playing overseas will definitely be an option”

Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok

Faker is the ultimate professional, the kind of guy who stays well away from social media because he wants to change the perception of eSports athletes in Korea for the better. He appreciates his behaviour will be scrutinised and has always steered clear of controversial comments – though he’d be fully entitled to express an arrogant streak from time to time, it simply isn’t in his nature.