The s1mple reason we give second chances

If you so desire, and understand well how to use Google, you can find out a lot of interesting information about famous people. Some are able to make that information harder to find with the use of lawyers, and injunctions, while there are others who have not been so fortunate, and will forever have to endure a stain on their character due to that, despite not ever having done something truly terrible.

In esports it is fair to say we have a larger-than-normal number of people who have skeletons in their closet, and most of the closets have glass doors, or no doors at all. One of the most egregious examples is also the world’s best player right now, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, currently of Na’Vi, and nearly of SK Gaming.

Born in October of 1997, the man called s1mple is a very complex beast, which is not unusual for men of his age. When he entered the pro scene he was little more than a boy, and despite a good level of success on the server he had many struggles around the game in his early years, some of his own making, and some very much imposed upon him.

In terms of the latter, he was unfairly attacked in his time in the US by one of the other pros at the time, who turned out to be just good enough to lick s1mple’s boots in the long run. Said pro, who at the time was on Cloud9, decided he wanted to pick on s1mple for his lack of fluent English. This proved that his out of game decision making skills were just as good as the in-game skills that saw him dropped, and eventually become a full time streamer unable to get on any team that s1mple would meet today.

From s1mple’s point of view, he had made himself something of a target by behaving in a manner gamers refer to as ‘toxic’, and as we pointed out there is a lot on the internet to condemn him with. If he were a footballer of a similar level, say Ronaldo or Messi, he would have been far more able to suppress the information, as you will know if you have followed both of those players, but instead he had to live with it and learn from his mistakes.

Growing up

In recent months it seems like he has done that, giving mature, thoughtful interview responses, being far more positive in pick-up games on stream, and tweeting tributes to old mentors. As if to emphasise this, the icing on top of the friendly cake came on Sunday, when he was in Marseille, at Dreamhack Masters, and involved in a major final, where he once again was trying to carry his less able team-mates to victory.

At one point, s1mple stopped the game by typing in chat that he could see the radar. This might seem a bit odd, but what he meant was that the reflection on the glass surrounding his playing position allowed him to see the observer radar that is displayed for audience purposes. After some confusion and a little bit of explanation, the issue was remedied and the game went on, sadly with s1mple losing to a superb Astralis, inspired by a reborn dev1ce.

In isolation this seems like praising him for not cheating, and in some ways it is, but it also shows the level of personal growth he has achieved in the last couple of years, and why esports is so fantastic. In other areas he would have never been afforded the chance to change, and there are some trying to grease their way into esports that would have hung him out to dry, given the chance. Instead, wise heads provided council, he learned from his mistakes, and today we have the greatest player in CS history as our reward for being patient.

So, we should praise s1mple first, because he had to listen and learn (unlike some kNg), but also the scene, for not vilifying him. As long as players cannot afford the lawyers that keep **** *******’s, **** **********’s and many other celebrities secrets, they will have these moments in the public eye, and we must maintain the attitude that a second chance is a right, not a privilege. You only have to watch the VoDs from Marseille to see the rewards are worth it.