"The semifinals of the League of Legends World Championship (LOL Worlds) 2023 were held at Sajik Indoor Gymnasium in Dongrae-gu, Busan on Nov.12. Immediately after Korea T1 defeated Jingdong Gaming (JDG), the strongest team in the Chinese league (LPL), 3-1, Faker (Lee Sang-hyuk, 27) gave a thumbs up as the camera director approached. When the director asked for a provocative gesture of lowering the thumb, Faker shook his head. At a press conference on Wednesday ahead of the LOL Worlds 2023 finals, Faker explained why he kept putting his thumbs up by saying, “After the semifinals ended, rather than feeling like I had ‘surpassed my opponent,’ I wanted to convey that, ‘I am thankful that I was able to play a good match (with JDG).’"
Faker's excited expression could not be seen at the press conference immediately after defeating China's Weibo Gaming (WBG) 3-0 in the LOL Worlds 2023 finals held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro-gu, Seoul on Sunday afternoon. “In this year’s LOL Worlds 2023, I tried to focus on the process without worrying about winning or losing,” Lee said. “My goal was not to have any emotional turmoil (even after the finals), and winning came about luckily.”
Faker, who commenced his professional gaming career at SK Telecom T1, the predecessor of T1, in 2013 at 17, has never switched to a different team and won the LOL Worlds four times. Among game fans, Lee is called ‘Daesanghyuk (Lee Sanghyuk – a person with great humility).’ When Faker was asked on the day, ‘What is the most important thing about being a professional gamer?’ he said, 'The attitude of always wanting to improve and being humble are the most important.'
Faker's humble attitude towards the opposing team also positively influenced game fans. Ahead of the LOL Worlds 2023 finals, T1 fans voluntarily uploaded posts showcasing their 'acts of kindness' including picking up street trash and participating in blood donation, in anticipation of victory and to attract good luck."
President Yoon Suk Yeol congratulated T1 for clinching the LOL Worlds 2023 on Monday, extending special congratulations to all five players, including Faker. President Yoon remarked, "By securing victory in LOL Worlds 2023, we have reaffirmed our country's standing as a prominent e-sports nation on the global stage," and further stated, "The government will offer robust support to propel the gaming industry to international competitiveness and lead the global market."