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“League of Legends” Superstar Uzi Steps Away From Competitive Gaming

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One of China’s most famous League of Legends professionals Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming persona Uzi, is stepping away from competitive gaming — again.

On March 24, his team Bilibili Gaming (BLG) announced on Weibo that the pro player won’t be competing in the next season of the League of Legends Pro League.

According to BLG’s post, reasons for this move include a need to improve Uzi’s performance and poor team synergy.

The announcement triggered discussion on Weibo and generated more than 171,000 likes and 25,000 comments at the time of writing. Uzi also reposted the statement a few minutes after BLG.

While many fans have expressed their support and best wishes for the pro player, others have leveled criticism at Uzi, BLG, and even the Chinese esports industry in general.

“He only trained for six days with the new BLG team. Do you think six days are enough to practice and build synergy?!” reads a popular comment with more than 7,000 likes under Uzi’s post.

Another Weibo user has speculated that the real reason for Uzi’s hiatus is dissatisfaction with his new BLG contract, which allegedly signed him up for only a small number of competitions.

“The worst team ever,” wrote a commenter, gaining more than 3,200 likes.

Reactions from fellow pro players have also garnered attention on Bilibili. In a video that has received more than 177,000 views, Liu Shiyu (whose ID is MLXG) pointed out that just like other professions, esports gamers are playing to make a living, not just to win titles. And earn a living Uzi has: He has raked in 545,447.55 USD from 41 tournaments.

During a livestream, fellow League of Legends player PDD opined that the break would only be temporary and that Uzi would return to competitions soon.

uzi league of legends

Jian Zihao aka Uzi has earned half a million USD from participating in 41 tournaments

In June 2020, Uzi announced his retirement due to physical illness and mental health concerns. Nevertheless, he struck a deal with BLG last December 2021 and returned to professional gaming after a year-long hiatus.

Uzi, who is almost 25, has reportedly struggled with high blood pressure, an unbalanced diet, and an irregular sleeping schedule due to his poor lifestyle. His ailments ultimately led to diabetes and an arm injury that prevented him from using his gaming mouse to the best of his abilities.

All images via Twitter

Beatrice Tamagno
Beatrice is a graduate student in sociology at Fudan University in Shanghai. Her writings have appeared on SupChina and ChinaNauts, an online magazine she co-founded with fellow researchers from Fudan. When she is not researching gender in contemporary China, you will find her playing mahjong or binging Chinese TV shows.
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