IntroductionThere’s never been a person in esports like Carlos "ocelote" Rodríguez Santiago (now known as CarlosR). With more than a decade affecting the game in various roles, no player has had such a unique influence. In fact, the most apt comparison isn’t found in League of Legends. They’re not even found in esports.CarlosR is League of Legends’ Jerry West. The Logo. Mr. Clutch. Focusing in on their respective legacies, it’s clear history is repeating itself. Both were some of the greatest players of their eras, but experienced heartbreaking losses. Both were the fathers of dynasties long-lasting in impact. And both stand as paragons of passion and perseverance; true competitors in every sense of the word.A Heartbreaking Playing CareerJerry West is known for having one of the most cursed careers in all of basketball. An NBA champion largely considered a top 25 player of all time, on the surface it seems like a dream scenario. Not for the Logo. It took him nine trips to the NBA finals to win his lone championship. Better put, he had to have his heart ripped out eight separate times before winning. Despite his incredible individual performance, West usually fell at the highest level. He’s actually the only Finals MVP to play on the losing team.West’s career was full of heartbreak because of his competitive mindset. West couldn’t be happy with the legacy of a top 25 player, knowing it could have been so much greater. For someone with so much drive and passion for their discipline, anything but victory was disappointing. It wasn’t a glorious championship. It was the lost chance of winning eight more. One commentator stated he “took a loss harder than any player I've ever known”. He took a lot. CarlosR’s career was similarly complicated. Largely considered one of the best mid laners in the world playing for one of the premier esports organizations, many would be content with his position. Not CarlosR.Despite being an extremely talented mid laner, he didn’t win many competitions. His team was many times subject to brutal roster changes. Not only that, he had to compete with the best mid lane talent in the world. The likes of Alex Ich, Froggen, and xPeke were consistent opponents. Despite his strong play, SK Gaming always seemed to fall at the very top of competition.Related: Thorin's Time - No More Excuses, Upset!
Also, very few players have experienced as many soul crushing losses as the Spanish mid laner. Hype for the victors, hype for the fans, heartbreaking for CarlosR. From Counter Logic Gaming’s triple teleport strategy to Fnatic’s xPeke performing the greatest backdoor in history, CarlosR has had to stand in the shadows of some of the game’s brightest moments. Just watching the interview after the aforementioned backdoor is difficult.You can hear the emotion in his voice. You can hear the passion. This is someone that breathes competition. CarlosR wasn’t someone to take losses lightly and stay satisfied with being good. He wanted to be the best. Every loss he would take hard. And he did.Front Office PhenomJerry West was an absolutely phenomenal basketball player. He was an even greater executive. Transitioning his passion for the game to the front office, he might be the greatest executive of all time. The man doesn’t just have a high win record - his teams radically shaped basketball history. In management, West has officially earned eight NBA championships. He won Executive of the Year twice. He was one of the architects of the Showtime Lakers, Shaq-Kobe Lakers, and Stephen Curry Warriors. Jerry West not only helped shape three of the greatest dynasties the NBA has ever seen, but grew the Los Angeles Lakers into one of the most famous and valuable sports franchises in the world. In the realm of management, the only curse he has is the Midas touch.Does CarlosR need any explanation in terms of his excellence managing? No one would argue with him being the greatest owner in all the West, if not the world. Although struggling at first to get his team to qualify for top European competition, he quickly turned G2 Esports into the most successful League of Legends team in the region.In five short years, G2 has achieved eight LEC titles, a Mid Season Invitational, and a trip to the finals at the World Championship. G2 Esports’ five-man lineup is easily one of the most accomplished in history. Additionally, CarlosR has turned the G2 brand into a monolith, one of the premier esports organizations. Their rivalry with Fnatic is now one of the game’s most iconic. The thing is, G2 has been so dominant in the matchup, it’s a very one-sided rivalry. As it goes for most teams. Whether it’s SK Gaming, Fnatic, or xPeke’s Origen, all of CarlosR’s rivals have felt the wrath of his team. With the amount of time the organization has existed in comparison to their success, CarlosR’s work with G2 is one of the greatest front office accomplishments in all of esports.Perseverance The last point to touch on is the most important. Both men are shining examples of competitors. Ones who don’t run away from the ring after taking a beating, but come back twice as hungry for more, longing for eventual success. With a mindset like that paired with a talented person, victory is inevitable.Jerry West is one of the most tenured figures in basketball. From a player, to a coach, to an executive, his involvement with the game has spanned more than seven decades. Even after so much heartbreak, so many losses, West continues coming back. He didn’t just stay in basketball, he made enormous contributions, shaping the game we have today. In many ways he dished out revenge on his former rivals - building the Lakers up to be just as successful of a franchise as the Celtics. He showed perseverance not only in defeat, but in victory. Even as his trophy case has threatened national gold reserves, he continues to contribute his mind and experience to the game, striving for more.CarlosR has been similarly relentless. He’s been involved with esports for more than a decade. Despite being on the losing side of some of the game’s most iconic moments, situations that would be devastating for anyone, he’s always built himself back up stronger. As it was said before, even his success managing had speed bumps. Gamers2 (G2 Esports’ predecessor) not only suffered disdain from many western fans, but continually failed to make it out of the challenger scene. Many people in CarlosR’s position would’ve cut their losses and stepped away from team ownership. Instead, he continued running the team, bringing them to a point where they not only qualified for the EU LCS/LEC, but completely dominated. The LEC trophy is practically G2 property. And there’s really no sign the team is going to slow down. Even after all these years of unprecedented dominance, the lineup still looks as strong as ever. In addition to their endurance, we must mention their respective strive for self-improvement. Both men are shining examples of maturation. West in early years was many times considered an embittered man. Biographer Jonathan Coleman stated “he could be a real jerk, even to people who really cared for him, such as the loyal assistant who threw him a surprise party. “I turned and walked out,” he recalls, and “added insult to injury” by offering to foot the bill. “It took her a long time to forgive me, a very long time.” He has since been open about his many struggles, and has made earnest efforts to improve. Ocelote was infamous for his fretful and aggressive attitude, but has shown to be a far more level-headed and balanced person. Their development stretches far past the game.Both Jerry West and CarlosR are gems for their respective disciplines. Not only did they help create the legacies of some of their games’ most iconic figures. Not only did they create some of the most era-defining dynasties in history. And not only did they represent the ideal competitor. Both men are examples to us of what can be accomplished with the human spirit. Even with crushing defeats, joy of competition and passion for the game can move mountains. They have shaped history in truly remarkable ways, and we’re so lucky to have them. If you enjoyed this article, follow the author on Twitter at @OddballCreator.
Image credits: Pasadena Star, G2 Esports, SK Gaming, Riot Games
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