DRIVE: The Aphromoo Story
DRIVE: The Aphromoo Story
In order to reach the pinnacle of any profession, including League of Legends, a player must have exceptional drive. Counter Logic Gaming’s Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black certainly has drive, and you can learn more about that in the video above. The source of that drive is equally interesting, and perhaps unexpected. His father is an avid gamer, and brought Aphromoo into the gaming fold when he was a young man.
Aphromoo’s First PC Game
In a recent interview, Aphromoo said that it was his dad who first sparked his interest in competitive gaming, as he’d watch the elder Moo play games like StarCraft and NASCAR racing when he was young. The fatherly influence showed through when Aphromoo’s dad bought Aphro his own PC and wanted to get him involved in gaming. The first PC game that the pair began to play together was Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo II.
Aphromoo went on to tell an amusing story where he got grounded over an action taken in Diablo II. He wanted to engage in player-vs-player combat, and logged into his father’s character in order to compete while his dad was at work. Unfortunately, he died. “All the gear drops on the floor, and everyone else picks it up,” he mused. It was gear that “you couldn’t get anymore, so my dad was pissed.”
Like the irascible youth he was, he “tried to cover it up with gear from the Stash (Diablo 2’s bank)” but that failed and he was grounded for two weeks.
Family Friction in High School
After the family’s stint in Diablo II, they moved to World of Warcraft. WoW was Aphromoo’s first exposure to professional tournaments through Blizzard’s Blizzcon event. He thought “it was pretty fun that you can be competitive about a game.” After engaging in player-vs-environment combat for several years with his dad, Aphromoo moved to PVP and that scratched the competitive itch for him. Unfortunately, the Arena system within WoW didn’t work out since “the game was dropping off when [Cataclysm] came out.”
The disappointment of the Arena system precipitated a move to League of Legends. Concurrent to this move, Aphromoo began high school which started some family drama, particularly during his sophomore and junior year. Describing the situation, he said “the internet bill started getting really high (sophomore and junior year), and my parents were like ‘ok you need to cut back’ and I started getting super mad, and my grades started dropping. That bothered my parents.” In response, his parents started putting the family’s Internet on a timer. After a certain time, it turned off. Aphromoo promptly hacked the timer, and consequently lost his computer for two months once his parents figured out what he had done.
Turning Point: Streaming
Streaming was Aphromoo’s way to put many of his parents’ reservations aside. Asked about a specific point, he replied “maybe the moment was when I showed them my $8,000 check from streaming...I think it was that moment. They left me alone after that. They let me stay in my room, stream as much as I wanted all night, let me have the Internet etc.”
From that point on, Aphromoo’s parents have been his staunchest supporters. In describing his family’s recent LCS visit, Aphromoo said “they had a great time at LCS. They loved it. They loved the venue, and they love watching me play even though we lost...They said they were really proud of me and still had a lot of fun. It really meant a lot to me and made me feel a lot better that my parents could cheer me up even though I lost. My auntie came too, and she was really excited too”
Zacqueri actually has a pair of younger brothers, Josh and Benjamin. Josh plays League of Legends, and according to Aphromoo, his father called asking “What does Josh have to do to be a professional (LoL player)?” He replied that Josh would have to play a lot of solo queue and stream, and Aphro even offered to help promote his stream. Aphromoo further commented that “since [my parents] went through it with me already, the rough time, they know that it can work out, and Josh can be successful since I did it. So, its just much easier on him and he has an easier time doing it, so I am happy about that.”
Gaming has unequivocally shaped Aphromoo’s life thanks to a major push from his father when he was younger. While there were certainly hard times, particularly in high school, CLG’s support has emerged from it as a success. Gaming continues to shape the entire family as Josh is embarking on his own journey toward success as a streamer - and perhaps a career in the LCS. There is an excellent chance that there will be a herd of Moos in the LCS if Josh shows Zaqueri’s same level of drive and commitment. Aphro certainly supports his younger brother and went so far to say that “he can be as good as me.”