Timothy “oLARRY2K” Anselimo was hit by a bullet when fellow pro gamer David “Bread“ Katz fired shots at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Florida last August. Nearly one year later, he has the honor of taking home the first-ever ESPYS award for Esports Moment of the Year.
ESPN, the largest cable sports network, held its annual ESPYS award show on July 10 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The announcement came hours before superstar athletes and celebrities traversed the red carpet en route to their seats.
The final fan vote allowed oLARRY2K to beat Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who received a nomination for his win at the E3 ProAM Fortnite tournament. Ninja himself hoped to lose, though many 2K pros have questioned his sincerity.
oLARRY2K’s highlight didn’t commemorate competitive glory, unless you count the fight he won following the shooting.
The pro NBA 2K player lost feeling in his thumb and suffered through a rigorous rehabilitation process. He eventually returned to the NBA 2K League to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ esports team, the Cavs Legion.
It’s an injury that sounds harmless enough until you realize the thumb is an essential body part for a gamer.
More than the battle back to competition, this moment gives the more deeply affected mourners a chance to reflect on the harrowing incident. oLARRY2K was just one of ten others who walked away with injuries, and another two — Elijah “Trueboy” Clayton and Taylor “SpotMePlzzz” Robertson — lost their lives.
That day proved grim for esports fans everywhere. Live player cameras were cut just a couple of seconds before the incident began. One participant groaned through pain as he calmly expressed that he’d just been shot.
Grief and sadness echoed through social media. Some questioned if they’d ever attend another competitive event.
Bread’s motivation for the shooting was never learned as he took his own life after the rampage, but that didn’t stop speculation that he may have snapped due to losing. Those who knew Bread said he always seemed troubled, but no one suspected his violent escalation. It wasn’t clear if the results of the tournament motivated his rage.
Regardless, the award win for oLARRY2K highlights the strength of those affected by the incident and hopefully provides some more positive closure.