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.

2017 NA LCS Spring Finals to be held in Vancouver

by 3d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Jose Silva / theScore esports

Get your raincoats, the 2017 NA LCS spring finals will be taking place at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, BC from April 22-23, according to an announcement on

The third place match will take place on Apr. 22, followed by the Grand Final on Apr. 23. Both matches will be best-of-five. All four teams will receive a hefty share of championship points with the first place team automatically qualifying for the Mid-Season Invitational.

The Vancouver event will be the second consecutive NA LCS finals held in Canada, following the summer finals in Toronto in August. The event was a roaring success, with a sold-out crowd filling 15,000 seats in the Air Canada Center.

Team SoloMid defeated Cloud9 3-1 in the August finals to claim a spot at the 2016 World Championship. Meanwhile, Immortals edged out Counter Logic Gaming 3-2 to take third place.

According to the announcement, tickets will go on sale in mid-February but an exact date wasn’t specified.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter.

Crumbzz will not be part of the NA LCS broadcast 'until further notice'

by 16h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Steve Cachero / theScore esports

Alberto "Crumbzz" Rengifo will not be part of the official NA LCS broadcast team, the analyst announced Friday.

On both Twitter and his Facebook page, Crumbzz stated that he would not participate in the upcoming NA LCS broadcasts.

In a response to the Reddit thread discussing his Facebook post, Crumbzz said that he "wanted to clarify that this has nothing to do with either party wanting to discontinue the relationship and it is in fact quite the opposite. There are other factors in play that are causing this and will have to be waited out."

The former Renegades jungler was a guest analyst for the 2015 World Championship and then, after Renegades was forced to sell their LCS seed by Riot in May 2016, he became an assistant coach of Apex Gaming while also appearing on Riot's NA LCS broadcasts during the summer season.

Crumbzz's post did not specify why he would be absent from NA LCS broadcasts.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a news editor for theScore esports. You can find him on Twitter.

Jish joins Immortals as assistant coach

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / Immortals

Former Chiefs Esports Club head coach Joshua “Jish” Carr-Hummerston has joined Immortals as an assistant coach, Immortals announced Wednesday.

Jish originally began his coaching career working with Oceanic team Dire Wolves before transitioning to the Chiefs. While on Chiefs, Jish helped coach the team to a first place finish in the 2016 OPL Split 2 Playoffs, before finishing sixth in the 2016 International Wildcard Invitational. They would go on to compete at IEM Oakland in November, but were ultimately eliminated by Longzhu Gaming in the quarterfinals.

Immortals will kick off their 2017 spring split against Echo Fox on Saturday, followed by a match against Team SoloMid on Sunday.

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

Former INTZ coach Abaxial joins TSM as assistant coach

by 5d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of TSM

With the NA LCS set to begin this week, former INTZ coach Alexander "Abaxial" Haibel has joined Team SoloMid as an assistant coach to bolster their coaching staff.

Abaxial left INTZ in October, following the Brazilian team's elimination from the 2016 World Championship. Abaxial originally joined INTZ in March 2015, subsequently guiding them to victory in four CBLoL championships and qualifying for Worlds 2016. At the time, Abaxial said that he was looking to work in the NA LCS in 2017.

"I have particular interest in working in the NA LCS next year, but will consider offers from Brazil, EU, Asia and other regions," Abaxial said. "I want to be the best coach, the best leader, the best person that I can possibly be. To follow that ambition I need to consider all options available now that my contract with INTZ has reached its conclusion."

Preston Dozsa is a news editor for theScore esports whose journalism idol is Dino Ghiranze. You can follow him on Twitter.

Former TSM strategic coach Jarge joins Team Liquid

by 5d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore eSports / Team Liquid

Former Team SoloMid strategic coach Josh "Jarge" Smith has joined Team Liquid as their head analyst, according to an announcement on the team's website.

"Teams have had multiple coaches and multiple analysts way before, but as far as I know, this is the highest 'budget' staff that's been assembled on any LCS team before," Jarge said in a statement.

"Again, I could be wrong. I'm not privy to much inside information. As for how it works, it's too early to tell obviously I am hopeful and a lot of my job will be to marry the needs of the coaches with the skills and knowledge of the analytical team."

Jarge was previously TSM's strategic coach between 2015 and 2016, but declared his free agency in April, following the team's second place finish in the spring playoffs. Prior to joining TSM, he was Fnatic's head analyst.

In addition to Jarge, Liquid welcomed ex-Apex Gaming coach Brandon "Saintvicious" DiMarco as their new strategic coach on Jan. 13.

Along with analysts Kevin "TeeKHay" Bracken and Keith "Snowspots" Torres, TL's new support team are well poised to help the team as they begin the 2017 season on Jan. 21 with a match against Counter Logic Gaming.

"I think in-house analytical staff is going to fast become a necessity, not only for the benefit of the team since they have 24 hour access, but also for the growth of the staff," Jarge said in his statement.

"It's hard to learn if you're not inside the room."

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

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