How did a kid playing computer games in a Bangkok internet café end up competing in the world’s biggest esports league? Dubbed “The Smiling Assassin”, Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod had created a personal brand and worldwide name in the gaming industry by the age of 14.
A teacher. A mentor. A hard worker. A crowd pleaser. These were just some of the words used to describe Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod as he received the inaugural Dennis Hawelka Award. Indeed Mickie was - and is - all of those things. He is also a professional gamer, a streamer, a dreamer, an entrepreneur, and, most importantly, he is unapologetically himself.
But how did this ever-smiling kid go from playing computer games in a Bangkok internet cafe to competing in the world’s biggest esports league? To answer that question, we have to go back to 2016. It was in that year that Mickie traveled to California to represent Thailand in the Overwatch World Cup. Even as it became clear his team would not make it beyond the group stages of the tournament, Mickie’s smile never dimmed. His playfulness and positivity captured the heart of the American audience, as well as the attention of Team EnvyUs.
Shortly after the Overwatch World Cup, Team EnvyUs found themselves down a player in South Korea’s OGN Apex tournament. EnvyUs leaders reached out to Mickie and offered him a spot on the team. Never one to turn down an opportunity to play, Mickie put on an EnvyUs jersey and helped his newfound teammates win the entire tournament. But the trophy and the cash prize were secondary to him. The most important thing was that he had finally achieved his dream of being a professional gamer.
But even with his boyhood dream fulfilled, Mickie wasn’t going to be complacent. He returned to the United States and signed with Dallas Fuel ahead of the inaugural Overwatch League. There, he further established himself as a fan favorite, passing his infectious smile on to his fans, his teammates, and even his opponents. His unwavering optimism and showmanship even helped attract casual fans to esports, something which had long been thought impossible.
In 2020, Mickie inked a deal to become a full-time content creator with Dallas Fuel’s ownership organization. This meant retiring from active competition, but competition never meant much to him anyway. His new position would allow him to focus on what mattered most: connecting with his audience.
Today, Mickie streams 10 hours each day, sharing stories and jokes with the fans who have supported him throughout career. His entrepreneurial spirit unrelenting, he continues to expand his online empire, moving ever closer to his ultimate goal of becoming a billionaire.