Joshua "Jatt" Leesman made a startling announcement on the most recent episode of "The Dive" today. He told fans and audiences that he was leaving the esports scene to work on game development and balance. Because he is such a well-known figure in the scene, his departure is all the more shocking. As one of the most iconic faces in the NA LCS, his legacy on the scene is sure to be a lasting one, and hopefully will have a similar effect in his new position.
History in Esports
Jatt's career in League of Legends started by playing professionally on team Rock Solid. He played with still famous names such as Joedat "Voyboy" Esfahani, Michael "Imaqtpie" Santana and William "Scarra" Li. In late 2011, Team Dignitas recruited these players and competed in a number of tournaments.
After retiring from playing professionally, Jatt was hired by Riot Games for a position as a QA Analyst on the Live Design Team. According to him, this was his foothold to climb the ranks and achieve his dream of being a game designer. Instead of keeping to this plan though, the opportunity to become a color caster arose and he took it.
Once in this position, he stayed put. He casted a ton of tournaments before the NA LCS even began, inlcuding various Euorpean tournaments, the MLG Championships and the Season Two World Championship. He, with other prominent names such as Sam "Kobe" Hartman-Kenzler, helped to bring the NA LCS into existence back in 2013. Ever since he has been a staple of the NA LCS casting crew and analyst desk.
For the first time since 2013 when we helped found the LCS, @RiotJatt won't be there to talk strategy at the office or prep for casting at the studio with me.
We've grown so much over the past 6 years together and now he's moving on to the design team. GL my friend ?? https://t.co/g52koBtNbJ
— Sam Hartman-Kenzler (@RiotKobe) January 31, 2019
Not only has he played an instrumental role in every NA LCS split, appearing week after week, he has attended every World Championship. His analysis is highly regarded in the League of Legends esports community, and for good reason. It shone through brightly on the game broadcasts but also in "The Dive" podcast and "This or That." His expert analysis was a highlight of the shows, and he will be missed for frequent listeners and viewers.
All in all, Jatt has had a prosperous career as a caster and analyst for LoL Esports. Though his mind will be missed for esports fans, it will surely be put to good use on the balance team.
As such an important member of the community, there were many responses to Jatt's announcement. Respected LCK caster, Chris "PapaSmithy" Smith had very high words to give to Jatt on Twitter. He said his departure was a "huge loss to the ecosystem" of the LoL esports scene.
I was inspired to do my first amateur cast after listening to @RiotJatt cast Kings of Europe with @FollowDeman seven years ago - Jatt was the first colour caster in League of Legends and a huge loss to the ecosystem
Best of luck on your new path friend, don’t be a stranger! https://t.co/PRAd1zlWp3
— Chris Smith (@PapaSmithy) January 31, 2019
In the official LoL Esports Tweet thanking Jatt for his hard work, the comments are filled with nothing but love. Though it is a sad sort of love, fans and colleagues all wished him the best. There were also a lot of crying pictures and videos, summing up everybody's feelings.
The Reddit community was similar. Despite having a reputation as being toxic, many fans showed their support on the post regarding his announcement. Many wished him the best and took the time to tell him how valuable he was to the team. The man himself also popped in the comments to answer some questions, a last action in the limelight.
It has been a difficult year for long time viewers of LoL Esports. Last year, the EU LCS lost beloved caster Martin "Deficio" Lynge when he went to go work for Origen. With the loss of Jatt, veteran viewers may feel like there's a hole in broadcasts. Those fans shouldn't fear though, as there are plenty of fantastic casters sticking around and even some, like Indiana "Froskurinn" Black, joining Western scenes.