They’re not serial winners looking to win again but has-beens past their prime making a great marketing play to get a lot of fans without the promise of excellence on the servers.
It seems like everything is everyone’s last dance nowadays. The common phrase was turned into a phenomenon by the Netflix/ESPN documentary series, and it was an easy thing to adapt by hapless writers across the esports industry about any project involving veterans. However, even a cursory glance would tell that FalleN and co. looking to roll back the clock has little to nothing do with the storyline of Michael Jordan and his teammates.
You can’t exactly blame the crafty Brazilians for co-opting the storyline, an excellent marketing vehicle for a project that has no chance of achieving any competitive relevance. However, those writing about their efforts should at least pretend to have a better idea of what The Last Dance documentary was all about.
The Bulls’ 98-99 season was about the legendary team of their times aiming to maintain their incredible standards of excellence for one last season. With the general manager looking to fire the coach due to personal differences (also known as envy), they were only going to have one last season together. It was the same with the players: the repeat champions were looking to hold onto their trophy for one last season without any roster changes. Hence The Last Dance, the codename-slash-playbook of the season.
It certainly is not about a merry band of has-beens pretending they still got the skills they had six years ago.
Just to repeat for emphasis: the players and the team depicted in The Last Dance documentary were still serial winners and just slightly past their prime at the time of filming, coming off the back of five straight NBA championship titles. Meanwhile, FalleN’s last LAN title ZOTAC Cup Masters 2018 in, well, 2018, beating out late-stage terminal disease VP, MVP PK and Team Kinguin (feat. TaZ and a bunch of noname Poles). His last victory over actual elite CS:GO competition? December 2017, the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals. That was over four years ago: also known as an eternity in esports.
Imperial clearly struck gold here. After all, FalleN’s project is built around the same idea as Dignitas picking up the former NiP core, just with a much more rabid fanbase and a higher potential return on investment. Which is perfectly fine. Just please stop with the asinine comparisons with a team that was actually winning, you know, trophies.
Flipping through the results sheets of FalleN’s former teammates (fer, fnx and boltz) will net you no further notable results. In fact, fnx needs to take an even longer trip down memory lane to relive lifting a trophy as he has accomplished nothing of note since ESL One Cologne 2016. VINI, of course, has no S-Tier tournament to his name at all according to Liquipedia’s classification.
It’s not even just about winning the biggest trophies: their involvement with their previous teams and the performances offered also lack any sort of joie de vivre. FalleN turned out to be a mediocre addition to Team Liquid despite the great role fit (an IGL and an AWPer rolled into one for a team sorely lacking both), and his stock has further diminished during his time with the North American side. It was his first project without complete control, too: perhaps not a surprise considering just how poorly the MIBR story turned out for everyone involved.
This includes fer, who’s been in full streamer-slash-journeyman mode after his stint on MIBR. It included, funnily enough, a 4-month part with Imperial’s previous roster. If you have no idea who else has been on that team, it is with good reason. So was fnx, now pushing 33, back in the second half of 2020. Hilariously, VINI is now the most prestigious member of the squad thanks to his long tenure on FURIA, though even that failed to yield any trophies.
To recap: Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls danced their last dance in ’98-99, winning back-to-back three-peats, meaning six NBA seasons in a row, with Jordan completing an MVP sextuple along the way. FalleN’s next CS:GO matches will be a part of the South American RMR open qualifiers.
It’s all a steal, literally and figuratively as well. Shame it will be the biggest coup this team will manage to accomplish. No doubt the ultra-committed Brazilian fanbase will propel their view counts to incredible heights even as they plod along in tier 2 events, but tier 2 events their ceiling will be.
Photo credit: HLTV