Shaquille O?Neal is investing in a League of Legends (LoL) team five years after retiring from his basketball career, and he?s excited about supporting an esports organization.
O?Neal invested on the LoL organization NRG, which is handling a team for Counter-Strike. The basketball icon will be joining MLB?s New York Yankees? Alex Rodriguez and Chicago White Sox?s Jimmy Rollins.
In an interview with Daily Dot, NRG Chairman Andy Miller expressed his gratitude for the athletes. ?We think they will help legitimize the space. They all come from the traditional sports world. They were all unbelievably young when they became professionals, like our guys,? said Miller.
The chairman also shared that Shaq, Rodriguez and Rollins approached their organization directly. In addition, the outlet also revealed that the White Sox athlete is actually an LoL player, while O?Neal, on the other hand, has been into gaming and esports for quite some time now.
?[Shaq] has been circling the space, and during CES [Consumer Electronics Show] he kind of fell in love with it, and said ?I?m all in, let?s do it.? He?s the world?s biggest kid and he?ll bring an epic amount of fun and energy – no pun intended – to our teams, and to the space in general,? Miller added, as reported by Daily Dot.
In a related report by Kotaku, NRG is actually not an elite esports organization, but, both their LoL and Counter-Strike teams are decent in the space. Furthermore, the outlet shared that their League of Legends team is currently sitting at 8-8 win-loss record in the spring standings. They are behind the Immortals? 15-1 standing and the powerhouses TSM, Cloud9 and CLG.
Meanwhile, their Counter-Strike squad is just slightly behind the top teams in North America. But, given the fact that the game is not that popular in the region, NRG is ranking significantly low globally. However, with the arrival of their newest superstar teammates, chairman Miller is hoping that the three athletes will give the organization their much needed boost.
Aside from his recent investment with NRG, Shaq also is a part-owner of the Sacramento Kings in the NBA together with Miller and Mark Mastrov. Now, he has followed his business partners into their new esports venture, as reported by Kotaku.