Another one of the Overwatch League’s iconic stars has decided to hang up the mouse and keyboard. Los Angeles Gladiators DPS Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim announced his retirement after five years of competitive Overwatch on the evening of October 6, 2021.
birdring has played competitive Overwatch for the past five years, starting on South Korean squad Kongdoo Panthera in 2017 before joining Overwatch League franchise London Spitfire following Cloud9’s acquisition of birdring and his teammates on Kongdoo. In the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, birdring was a vital factor in London Spitfire’s championship run, forming arguably the most fearsome DPS duo alongside Park “Profit” Joon-yeong.
After a second season on Spitfire in 2019, birdring considered retirement before being signed by LA Gladiators before the 2020 OWL season. The Gladiators sent birdring off in style via Twitter, with a video featuring the man himself, his teammates, and other members of the Overwatch League reflecting on birdring’s influence on the league interspliced with a highlight reel of the best plays in birdring’s career.
In all four seasons of his OWL career, birdring qualified for the post-season. While he never got as far as his championship run in 2018 with Spitfire, he finished in the top 8 of the 2019 OWL Playoffs with Spitfire and again in 2020 with Gladiators. In birdring’s final season, the LA Gladiators finished in the top 6 of the 2021 Overwatch League Playoffs.
In his farewell video, birdring states that the fans and their support is what kept him in the Overwatch League as long as it did, particularly in terms of his tenure on the Los Angeles Gladiators. A streaming career is something birdring is considering as his next potential move, but the South Korean DPS stated that he has not set any specific plan in motion regarding his future following retirement.