Uzi becomes a free agent
Jian "Uzi" Zihao has become a free agent this Friday after his contract with Royal Never Gives Up expired, according to official Riot Contract Database.
Uzi, widely regarded as one of the best ADC players in the history of the game is official without a team. As of today, there are no news of the two sides working on an extension of Uzi's contract, meaning that the Chinese League of Legends player is in theory free to sign with any team he desires.
Although Uzi's departure is far from confirmed, this move should not come off as a surprise to anyone, considering Uzi hasn't played a single match for his team throughout 2020 due to injuries. The news about Uzi's injuries surfaced shortly after RNG crashed out of the 2019 World Championship when it was hinted Uzi could look to retire.
Uzi's injuries, which have been a big part of his career for a few years now are, however, well documented, as the Chinese esports star even openly talked about them on several occasions, including in a short documentary film produced by League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and Nike.
In the documentary, Uzi spoke about his issues with his shoulder and right arm, which according to his doctor is very worn out. As claimed by Uzi, his doctor told him that his arm resembles that of a 40 of 50-year-old, which comes as a result of Uzi's prolonged periods of playing the game in a bid to become one of the best.
Adding to his arm and shoulder issues, the 23-year-old LoL pro also spoke about his struggles with his lower body strength, which again is a direct by-product of prolonged periods of time he has spent sitting behind a computer, practising his skills on the Rift.
“I often feel like my legs have no strength. The lower part of the body feels like it’s not mine,” said Uzi.
Due to his condition, Uzi struggles to play the game for more than just a couple of hours daily, which is a huge problem for a professional player, seeing how many elite-level pro players spent most of their days behind the screen, playing scrim matches and preparing themselves for the challenges ahead.
Since Uzi was unable to help Royal Never Give Up this season, RNG opted to sign ex-Flash Wolves ADC Lu "Betty" Yu-Hung, who helped RNG win the Demacia Cup and replaced Uzi for the entire LPL Spring Split. Although Betty can hardly compare to Uzi in his prime, the Taiwanese ADC played well and ended the split with 5.53 KDA, 73% KPAR (kill participation) and 31.2% KS (kill share). He also averaged the fourth-lowest deaths (1.74) per game out of all ADCs and boasted with an average of 4.13 kills per game.
Despite Betty's contribution, RNG struggled to leave much of an impact this split, finishing the season at seventh place with an 8-8 record and later crashed out of the playoffs in round one, after losing to EDward Gaming in round one (1-3). This split also marked RNG's worst split since their inaugural appearance in the league in 2015, when RNG finished LPL 2015 Summer Split ninth-12th.
Although Uzi's contract has expired, it's safe to assume RNG will look to keep ahold of him, either as a player or offer him a managerial role in the squad. Uzi has been a member of the Chinese esports organisation since October 2012, when he joined Royal Club. Uzi moved to Oh My God in December 2014 and later played for Qiao Gu Reapers, the butt has re-joined RNG in May 2016 and has since built renown as one of the iconic members of the team.
Prior to this year, Uzi has established himself as one of the best, and in eyes of many as the best ADC player in the world. He is mostly known for his Vayne and being the first player to reach 500/1000/1500/2000/2500/3000 kills in the LPL. Uzi was also the player with the most kills in 2014 and 2017 World Championship and is the player with the most kills in professional LoL games in the entire world. Unfortunately, Uzi never got a chance to lift the Summoner's Cup, with his best Worlds placement coming in 2013 and 2014 when he reached the finished runner-up.