Hai Lam, one of North America’s most prominent and famous mid lane players, has retired from professional League of Legends play after a 6-year career that included five years in the NA LCS. The announcement of Lam’s retirement came in a recent AMA he did on the League of Legends subreddit, which included some brief talk about his career and legacy, as well as some thoughts on his future.
Lam started his professional League of Legends career in earnest with the creation of Orbit Gaming, a small team seeking entry to the NA LCS through the challenger scene. This roster changed owners twice, first being bought by Quantic Gaming, then by Cloud9 — the name Lam’s team would eventually play in the LCS under.
After joining the NA LCS for the 2013 Summer Split, Lam helped Cloud9 quickly rise to the top of the league, winning the Summer Split playoffs and establishing Cloud9 as one of the dominant League of Legends teams in North America. During his time with the team, Cloud9 qualified for three World Championships and won two NA LCS titles, one of the most impressive three year runs any North American organization has ever had. It was with Cloud9 that Lam also became one of the only players to ever play two roles at the World Championship tournament, playing mid lane in his first two appearances, then jungling during the 2015 tournament.
Lam continued to play with Cloud9, on either the team’s LCS or Challenger roster, until he joined FlyQuest in early 2017. During his time with FlyQuest, Lam’s leadership and experience helped push the team to an impressive fourth place finish in its first split. The team also placed third in the 2017 North American Regional Qualifiers for Worlds.
After his time with FlyQuest, Lam joined the Golden Guardians ahead of the 2018 Spring Split, his final split in the NA LCS. During this split, the Guardians struggled against the stiff competition of the newly franchised league, with Lam’s team ending the split in last place. In preparation for the upcoming Summer Split, the Guardians announced their newest roster plans, which did not include Lam on the team.
While Lam makes no mention in his AMA of ever attempting to return to a playing career, he has retired and returned before. Lam first announced his retirement from professional League of Legends back in the spring of 2015, just a few months before he would return to the Cloud9 starting lineup as a jungler to help the team qualify for the 2015 World Championship.
According to his AMA, Lam will be pursuing a future in streaming and content creation. Lam says that his stream will likely feature mostly games with four other players, to help showcase shot-calling and decision making in a team environment — one of the qualities that helped make Lam successful during his time as a player. Lam also mentions that he would be open to the possibility of coaching or analysis for a team in the future.