When you think of winners, what do you think of? Perhaps you think of storied esports organizations that have won multiple titles across different games. You could even try to single out certain individuals who started from nothing and built a legacy out of a successful career. Or maybe, just maybe, you think of a winner; someone who naturally has been dominant throughout their endeavors and just has a winning aura. That person, that winner, is Rick Fox.
Before esports, Rick Fox had a career in the NBA. From 1991-2004 the small forward out of North Carolina, the recent winners of the 2017 NCAA National Championship, roamed the hardwood as a member of the Celtics and the Lakers. While with the Lakers, Fox picked up three straight NBA titles from 2000-2002. After somebody gets a taste of winning, especially three times, it's not a feeling you want to let slip away.
Fast forward to 2015. Fox announced that he had purchased League of Legends team Gravity Gaming. Gravity Gaming did not last long under Fox as the team was immediately re-branded into Echo Fox, the first step towards building a legacy. To this day Echo Fox is more than just a League of Legends team. The organization has since branched out into six other games as well as being submerged in the fighting game community.
One of those games is H1Z1. Speaking to Fox at the invitational was not only a humbling experience as someone who started their broadcasting career in traditional sports but also eye opening. When Fox speaks about H1Z1 or esports as a whole, his passion is clearly evident. He doesn't give you the political shakedown with stonewall answers. If you ask a question, Fox will answer as Rick Fox, esports enthusiast, not Rick Fox, Owner of Echo Fox.
Each organization has their own mission statement. Echo Fox's reads as, "Echo Fox is the premier eSports team focusing on harboring the best athletes in the world." Like I said, ask Fox a question and he'll answer like a true esports devotee. "Be authentic and true to what drives me day to day when I get up," said Fox when asked what his mission statement is. "That is to be excellent, it's to be a champion, it's to be in a team environment where I support my fellow teammates." You don't win championships as an individual. You win championships and create legacies as a team.
"Be authentic and true to what drives me day to day when I get up. That is to be excellent, it's to be a champion." - Rick Fox
From the NBA to esports, there are many similarities according to Fox. "At the core and foundation of all things Echo Fox, it's really about supporting our players to becoming the best they can become," said Fox. "Ultimately you want to pursue championships. You want to become a champion. This is just a different landscape and I get to be an owner and compete in it." Pro athletes, regardless of sport, also have a certain something about them according to Fox. "The difference as a former pro athlete in one field, basketball, when you're talking to another pro athlete you know if you're talking to one," said Fox. "What we have in our organization is a group of men that really have dedicated their lives which I admire. I really commend them for really diving in deeply day in and day out to become the best in the world."
"Ultimately you want to pursue championships. You want to become a champion. This is just a different landscape and I get to be an owner and compete in it." - Rick Fox
With H1Z1: King of the Kill, Fox is looking for more success and ultimately a championship. "We love the game," said Fox. "If you have a passion for playing a game then you'll have a passion for seeing it grow to an esport."
If you happen to see official videos of Echo Fox, one of the most consistent things you'll see is Fox submerged with his team. He's not your typical owner who just sits there and controls the team from behind the scenes. He gets involved and gets to know his players. At the H1Z1 Fight For The Crown Tournament, Fox was rarely in one place. He would get up, visit his players between practice rounds and more importantly, not separate himself from the esports community.
He's close knit with his players to the point where Fox said players think they can take him in a game of one-on-one on the court. "Maybe it's the gray hair. I don't know what it is," said Fox. Don't be too quick to challenge Fox as he still believes he has some magic left in the tank. "It's like riding a bike. Put a basketball in my hand and it's gonna be second nature."
In the near future, it won't be a basketball in his hand that makes things second nature. It'll be a controller, a mouse, a keyboard or anything esports related. Once Fox gets his hands on something he's passionate about, he stops at nothing short of becoming a winner.