After T1’s 3-1 victory over JD Gaming at the Worlds 2023 semifinals, a fan cam caught an official Riot Games photographer making his rounds on stage.

In the video, the photographer was seen asking Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok to strike a thumbs down pose as he packed up his peripherals. In response, the pro player shook his head and went ahead with his signature thumbs up pose.

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This caused a stir on social media, with many fans praising him for his sportsmanship.

At Worlds 2023 Media Day, the legendary mid laner clarified what went through his mind at that time and why he reacted this way.

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Faker shares his true feelings after Worlds 2023 semifinals win over JD Gaming

Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok of T1 poses at the League of Legends World Championship 2023 Semi Finals on November 12, 2023 in Seoul, South Korea
Credit: Riot Games

Faker told media that the emotions he felt after the semifinals wasn’t directly related to the fact that he was able to take down these formidable opponents. This is why he didn’t want to do a thumbs down pose.

Instead, he was on a different frequency altogether. “I was really grateful to have a great game because I appreciate the experience so much,” he said.

“It was less about sportsmanship, it was more of coming from my personal experience,” Faker further clarified.

He elaborated that he is self-aware and does make an effort to display sportsmanship as much as possible, especially because he represents esports pro players.

“I try my best to showcase the best sportsmanship possible,” said Faker.

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T1 is the last standing LCK representative at Worlds 2023. During the semifinals held in Busan, the home ground crowd cheered loudly for them against LPL’s first seed, JD Gaming.

The fan-favorite qualified for Worlds via championship points as LCK’s second seed. During the Swiss stage, they defeated Team Liquid, Cloud9, and dropped one game to rivals Gen.G before sweeping Bilibili Gaming in the playoffs qualifier.

In the quarterfinals, they swept LNG Esports before overcoming JD Gaming. Only one LPL team is left standing — fourth seed Weibo Gaming, their last hurdle in the final.

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