Gamer legend Matthew Haag aka Nadeshot first came to fame as a Major League Gaming (MLG) superstar and an X Games gold medalist. Retired now from competition, the 2011 Call of Duty world champion and former Red Bull esports athlete now owns 100 Thieves, a lifestyle brand and competitive video game team. On social media and his Twitch and YouTube channels he is followed by millions.
From sports misfit to gamer god
Matt Haag first got into video games, he says, because he loved sports but was no good as an athlete, unlike his brother, the star football player. So, Haag focused on beating his brother in video games, and got really, really good.
“Back then, there wasn’t prize money,” said Nadeshot says about his teenage days. Barely age 15, Nadeshot jumped into his first video game tournament back home in Illinois, in 2007, on a weekday that his parents let him take a day off of school.
“Compared to now, it was night and day. We were playing for pride, a few hundred bucks, maybe.”
But it wasn’t long before Nadeshot would take the gamer world by storm as a top competitor. First he took up the Halo, then later mastered Call of Duty. By 2011, he became a Call of Duty XP world champ, and in 2014, Nadeshot won Major League Gaming’s X Games gold medal, while also being tipped “Best eSports Player” at that year’s edition of The Game Awards.
Now, retired from competitive gaming himself, Nadeshot focuses on shepherding the next generation of gamers and making a business of video game culture.
Big business—and that tattoo bet
Nadeshot’s outfit called 100 Thieves (pronounced ‘Hundred Thieves’) first started out as an apparel brand. But by 2017, the entrepreneur was recruiting a new collective of talented young gamers to compete worldwide. He also ended up courting his own stable of business backers, such as Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, rap star Drake, and other serial investors.
“When we first started raising money to build 100 Thieves,” Nadeshot says, “I told the venture capital funds people was that gaming is part of mainstream culture.”
Nadeshot also made a bet last year with fans that if one of his tweets got 100,000 retweets that he would get it inked in his skin. He says the tattoo bet he lost still stands.
“There will be a video and tweeted proof—that I did have it etched into my body for ever. It is coming, I promise.”
Andy Frye speaks with Nadeshot, in Episode 13. You can read the interview on Forbes here.
- 2:30 Andy & Nadeshot on Chicago, living in L.A.
- 6:00 Nadeshot: Sports led to video games, Halo and Call of Duty
- 8:25 How 100 Thieves came about
- 9:15 Who gets to play with LeBron, Drake? Interviewing NBA star Anthony Davis
- 13:10 Brands in gaming, Excedrin sponsorship
- 15:00 Staying mentally and physically healthy
- 16:45 "No prize money"— Nadeshot's first days
- 19:00 So what about Nadeshot's tattoo bet?