There are few gaming stories as wild as the rise and fall of Joseph Sulenski, also known as XJ9, a notorious League of Legends player.
In the early days of the game, he was known for his unique jungling style and approach to the game that prioritized his own win conditions over that of his teammates. His innovations and skills earned him a respectable following on Twitch and YouTube. However, his popularity was short-lived, as he became infamous for his toxic behavior and extremely abusive language in and outside the game, eventually leading to his ban from the game and Twitch.Although XJ9 asked for a second chance — citing his mental health as the cause of his actions and his wish to improve — he showed little intention of changing his behavior. He continued to create controversies, the most serious of which was when he posted naked photos of his girlfriend on Facebook after she played a character he disliked in the game.The hate for XJ9 continued to grow, with most of his actions being deemed unacceptable. Any remaining sympathy for him evaporated as his actions turned from taboo online offenses to a crime, with revenge porn being illegal in several states at the time. Many twists and turns have occurred after — continually causing controversy and discussion in the scene. The status of his career now opens up many interesting questions for how online gaming ecosystems should function.The story highlights how even the most talented players can quickly become outcasts if they don't reform their ways — something not exclusive to XJ9. It also serves as a cautionary tale to young gamers on how to behave in online communities and how even a few wrong moves can destroy their careers and reputation, but also opens up discussion regarding the nature of rehabilitation and forgiveness.
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