Shaq, A-Rod among NRG eSports’ latest investors

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NRG eSports is getting some attention from big names in mainstream sports.

Former NBA star and part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, Shaquille O'Neal, New York Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez and Chicago White Sox shortstop Jimmy Rollins have all invested in NRG, the organization announced Thursday.

Meanwhile, O'Neal made sure his esports entrance was a little more animated.


"I feel it legitimizes the space a little bit, it helps legitimize the idea that these guys really are athletes when other athletes recognize them," NRG co-owner Andy Miller told theScore esports. "There's lots of things that we as weekend warrior athletes will never go through, and they realize that these people are athletes.

"They're putting everything they have, their whole world into becoming the best at what they do."

Miller says that his existing relationship with O'Neal as co-owners of the Sacramento Kings helped them get him involved.

"He was really interested in the space, he was involved in the Turner, TBS esports pavilion, this was something he was participating in," Miller said. "He's a co-owner with me of the Kings as well as my co-owner Mark Mastrov, and he and Mark have a great relationship so he said, 'Hey I want to do this, let's figure it out,' and it was a no-brainer."

O'Neal is also not the only ex-LA Lakers player to enter the world of esports. His former teammate, Rick Fox, founded Echo Fox last year, and currently owns a League of Legends team and a CS:GO team.

Meanwhile, Miller says Rollins approached them after getting interested in the esports scene.

"He'd played a little League of Legends, thought it was amazing, read some articles said this is something he thought paralleled a lot of what he saw in the sports world and he wanted to become an investor," he said. "He was amazing to talk to, really knowledgeable, and well-thought out."

Finally, Mastrov also had an existing relationship with Rodriguez, who they approached because of his personal brand.

"We thought he would just be such a great fit because of his experiences, his longevity and being a player on a big stage at such an early age, very similar to our guys," Miller said.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. He dropped dunk stats in favor of wordplay. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Ride-a-Long with GBM: On Animal Style, plans after pro gaming & a shout out to HistoryTeacher

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Ever wonder what it's like to hang out with Lee "GBM" Chang-suk?

theScore esports' Lisa Doan got the chance to take NRG eSports' mid laner on a drive to In-N-Out Burger, while discussing his strange habit of wandering off on his own, how his bowtie trademark all began and where he sees himself in ten years.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

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NRG’s Ohq: ‘My play has slipped since I got to NA...and I want to say I’m sorry’

Wiliam "scarra" Li

As a revamped team coming into the 2016 NA LCS Summer Split, NRG eSports are struggling to find cohesion and are currently near the bottom of the standings.

theScore esports' William "scarra" Li spoke to NRG's AD carry Oh "Ohq" Gyu-min to discuss how he's fitting into the team, the strength of his support Alan "KiWiKiD" Nguyen and how he feels about his personal performance.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

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Azael on the differences between casting for Riot and Blizzard and what he does to improve his craft

William "scarra" Li

We may be a third of the way through the season, but it's all still new for Isaac "Azael" Cummings Bentley, one of the NA LCS' newest casting voices. A former World of Warcraft pro and multi-game talent, Azael came to the broadcast team from within Riot's development team.

theScore esports' William "scarra" Li caught up with the new caster to discuss his vast history in esports, how working for Riot's production compares to other companies within the industry and what he's learned from the veterans on the NA LCS' desk.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

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Rick Fox on building an esports empire: 'I want them to be champions'

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Rick Fox is no a stranger to being a champion.

Taking his talents from the hardwood to the Rift, Rick Fox is working on building an esports empire with his organization, Echo Fox.

While in Los Angeles, California, theScore esports' Lisa Doan had the chance to sit down with Rick Fox to discuss his leap into esports, how LA Lakers owner Jerry Buss inspired him to be the owner he is today and his hopes for Echo Fox.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

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Phoenix1 add History Teacher, Qwerm to staff

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Phoenix1 has added Chad “History Teacher” Smeltz as their new in-house manager and Alec “Qwerm” Warren as their head analyst. Both were members of NRG until they parted ways with the organization last week.

A release from Phoenix1 confirmed that the ex-NRG general manager would take over duties from Brendan “Saparino” Franco.

"I’m greatly looking forward to working with Phoenix1. I appreciated my time spent at NRG and the experience that I got there, and I plan on taking what I’ve learned there and in prior experiences to help make Phoenix1 the best they can be," History Teacher said.

Qwerm, who is named in the P1 release as BonQuish, will work with coach Charlie Lipsie "to prepare for weekly matches and with the players to help with their individual development."

Phoenix1 is currently 0-6 after three weeks of NA LCS competition and will face Counter Logic Gaming and NRG in Week 4.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury used a phoenix down but all it did was burn him horribly. You can find him on Twitter.

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