In an esport as young as Overwatch, it's hard to determine what constitutes being a legend. However, when we're talking about DPS player Ji-hyeok "Birdring" Kim, there's no doubt in anyone's mind, he's an all-time great, one that has decided to retire after five years of delighting fans with his prowess.
With a heartfelt video posted by the Los Angeles Gladiators, Birdring's final team in Overwatch, and a follow-up gut-wrenching twitlonger shared by the 22-year-old, fans were shocked to receive the news of his retirement.
Birdring, who started competing back in 2016 became part of some of Overwatch's most iconic moments as an esport, first in OGN's Apex, reaching the finals in 2017 alongside Kongdoo Panthera, losing in a memorable match to Lunatic-Hai 4-3.
Once Overwatch League rolled around in 2018, the DPS extraordinaire, who became known for his flexibility, being able to switch from hitscan heroes like Widowmaker or Tracer, to projectile characters like Hanzo, led the London Spitfire to become the inaugural season champion, cementing his place as an all-time great.
His accomplishments don't stop there, as this past season he helped the LA Gladiators get their first franchise trophy by winning the Countdown Cup against the Chengdu Hunters.
In his twitlonger, Birdring does leave the door open for a potential comeback as a pro, whether that's with Overwatch 2, which will be used for the upcoming 2022 season, remains to be seen.
"If there's a chance for me to play a fun game competitively again, I'd like to compete with the same name."
As for his short term plans, Birdring has confirmed he'll look into streaming regularly on Twitch. "I wasn't a star player, and I was neither flashy nor special, but I exist because you were here. Thank you so much," he adds.
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Featured image courtesy of LA Gladiators.