Faker isn't faking this one; he's on for another three years.
Three More Years of Faker
After Faker's contract with T1 expired on November 21, 2022, many clamored at the legendary LoL midlaner's next move. Rumors swirled that Faker would move on to a different organization for the next phase of his career, possibly a North American one. We now know that this is not the case.
Yesterday, T1 confirmed in a tweet that Faker has re-signed with T1 for an additional three years. That means Faker will spend a decade with the organization. Not only is this a rare feat for top-tier talent, but incredible in general for any Esports athlete.
GREATEST. OF. ALL. TIME. Even as a rookie.
— Red Bull Gaming (@redbullgaming) August 10, 2022
Faker started his Esports career with a bang back in 2013, helping T1 win the Season 3 World Championship in his debut season. Faker quickly solidified his position as one of the best League of Legends players to ever do it. He helped T1 bring home two additional World Championships and has enjoyed dominance in the League of Legends Champions Korea. In 2018, he became the first League of Legends player inducted into the Esports Hall of Fame.
But some are still convinced that Faker is fighting a losing battle against Esports' one undefeatable foe: time.
At 26 years old, Faker is still a young man. By ordinary standards. By Esports standards, Faker is a seasoned veteran. Esports athletes have shorter careers than NFL running backs, and there is a never-ending argument about when Esports athletes have become too “old” to retain dominance. As hard as it is to believe, considering Faker is one of LoL's greatest ever, some question his abilities moving into the 2023 season.
T1 suffered a tough 2-3 loss to DRX at World Champions this year. With DRX in rebuild mode after releasing almost their entire World Champions-winning roster (Esports is a brutal world), T1 seems primed to take revenge on DRX next year.
Regardless of how T1 performs in the 2023 season or how Faker does in the next three years, these may be Faker's last. At least for a while.
End Of An Era?
For those unaware, all able-bodied Korean men aged 18-30 must perform 18-21 months of active military duty (With a few exceptions).
Faker dropped out of high school to pursue his career in Esports. Up until 2020, that meant he wouldn't need to perform his mandatory military service. High school dropouts were not obligated to serve.
But as of late 2020, that has changed. High school dropouts technically still won't be serving in the military but must still perform public service. They will work as delegates are designated public facilities to relieve some of the workloads of the standard staff. Service is typically 18-21 months.
High school dropouts can still volunteer for military enlistment and serve, provided they pass the physical fitness test. But according to government data, few high school dropouts make the cut.
According to Korean news outlets, Faker's contract does not include an extension option. With Faker to be 29 in three years, the timeline adds up. It's possible Faker will leave the LoL scene to perform his mandatory public service after his contract expires.
Even if Faker serves the low end of 18 months, he will still be over 30 years old when his service ends. It's safe to assume that Faker will return to T1 in some leadership capacity. After all, he became a part-owner of T1 after resigning with them in 2020. But there's a strong possibility that these next three years will be Faker's last as a pro.
But then again, if anyone can continue playing League of Legends at the highest level as the quote-unquote old guy, it would be Faker. Enjoy the show while you can.