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Juan “Hungrybox” Debidema announced his intention to pursue a full-time esports career on June 30. The announcement came after his 1st place finish in Super Smash Bros. Melee at CEO 2019.
CEO 4-Peat Champion. 🏆
I have finally decided to pursue esports full time.
Life’s too short to not do what makes you happy.
I’ll be doing my celebration stream on Monday. Don’t miss it.
Starting July 14th, daily streams for everyone.
— hungrybox (@LiquidHbox) June 30, 2019
Many fans first learned of Hungrybox’s career outside of Smash at the 2015 Nintendo World Championships. Reggie Fils-Aimé, who was then the president and CEO of Nintendo of America, had challenged Hungrybox to a match one year prior at the E3 2014 Smash 4 invitational. Before their 2015 face-off, Reggie jokingly claimed he would offer him a job if Reggie could win their battle. Hungrybox replied, “I’m an engineer boy — I don’t need it.”
Hungrybox has played Melee as a full-time career before. However, he returned to the engineering tech workforce in March 2018. Even as a part-time competitor, he was ranked no. 1 on both the summer and winter rankings in 2018.
But as Hungrybox put it, “Life’s too short to not do what makes you happy.” He will once again compete in Super Smash Bros. Melee full-time. He will fill out his schedule with daily livestreams. Hungrybox has also begun a career in commentating Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He commentated top 8 of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at CEO 2019 along with Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios.
Hungrybox’s esports career before going full-time
Hungrybox began competing in Melee in 2007. He rose to national prominence in 2009 and soon became one of the five “gods” of Melee. The other gods are Joseph “Mang0” Marquez, Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman, Adam “Armada” Lindgren, and Kevin “PPMD” Nanney.
As one of the best players in the world, Hungrybox was one of the earliest smashers to get signed by an esports team. He joined Team Curse in 2014, and the organization merged with Team Liquid in 2015. Team Liquid has remained as his patron ever since.
Despite his status as a god, Hungrybox was not considered the best in the world for quite some time. He was ranked no. 1 in the world for the first time in late 2017. Impressively, he has maintained the no. 1 status ever since then.
Hungrybox may lose his no. 1 status for the first time in over a year on the Summer 2019 MPGR. He notably faces competition from Justin “Wizzrobe” Hallett on these upcoming rankings. However, with a full-time focus on esports, Hungrybox may look better than ever before in the second half of 2019.
Dylan Tate is an alumnus of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a gaming journalist with a love for Nintendo esports, particularly Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon.