now that NaDa's retiring, I guess I'll post it.
Edit: Click the links if you have time! (Finding all those links was the most time-consuming part of this article , and also prove that the history of Starcraft since late 2002 is basically entirely on TL somewhere.)
Just a year and a half ago, any Brood War fan could tell you in a blink who the Greatest Of All Time was: Lee Yun-Yeol, the Genius Terran. For over seven years, [Red]NaDa struck fear into the hearts of all but the best. His superhuman image was first forged by his dominance in the KPGA Tours (the precursors to the MSL). After a quarterfinal appearance in the first KPGA Tour, NaDa tore through the next three in style, defeating YellOw 3-2, Reach 3-0, and ChoJJa 3-2 in three consecutive finals. He won his first title at just 18 years old; NaDa was the original "Child Labor Terran," a true wunderkind.
Though he was finally stopped by Nal_rA in the finals of the first "official" MSL, the Stout MSL, the Tornado Terran remained a force to be reckoned with, thrice clawing his way back up to the medal stand in the next four MSLs. Twice NaDa met his match in his nemesis iloveoov, and was forced to settle for third and second place, respectively, and once he fell to GoRush in an epic Bo7.
Give me victory or give me death!
Unfortunately, the You Are the Golf King MSL seemed to signal the end of NaDa's MSL successes. Despite two OSL golds and a silver between 2005-2007, NaDa's MSL performances became littered with disappointments; for three years, he could not advance beyond the group stage (Ro32) of the MSL, his former stomping ground. Fans attributed this to his getting old, his father's traumatic death, the rise of iloveoov and then sAviOr...
But in the 4th GOMTV MSL, NaDa's MSL play began to click again. He advanced 2-1 out of his group and defeated Anytime (his earlier OSL final victim) before being teamkilled by Mind. He passed the group stages of three more consecutive MSLs, culminating in a close 2-3 loss to PvT monster JangBi in an epic series. Artosis, who was doing Terran analysis for Teamliquid at the time, called NaDa's Game 1 play "the closest thing to a perfect game that has been played since sAviOr was bonjwa or iloveoov before him." An ordinary player would have been thrilled with his performance.
But NaDa was heartbroken despite having played a beautiful, nail-bitingly close series with the best PvT player in the world. In his Ro16 winner's interview immediately prior, NaDa had confidently informed the reporter that "I don't only want a seed; I want to win this MSL this time." Even if NaDa was a washed-up legend well past his prime to everyone else, he still saw in himself the champion at heart. This was the ambition that made NaDa one of the greatest to ever play Starcraft.
A year later, after achieving 100 Proleague wins, NaDa retired from Brood War as the most decorated player of all time. Despite his incredible mindset and drive--what other player could hold his own against the best in the world, 6 years after his prime?--he was getting old, unable to physically keep up with the incredible physical demands of the game. He left the team that he helped build from the ground up, as it changed from Toona SG to P&C Curriors to Pantech EX to WeMade FOX; and another year later, WeMade (along with Hwaseung and MBCGame) decided they no longer had the money to fund their progaming teams. MBCGame ended its venerable Starcraft League soon after. Fittingly, it seems that WeMade began and ended with its greatest player, and the departure of the first man to win a Golden Badge foreshadowed the demise of the MSL.
Since then, NaDa, still young enough to avoid the South Korean military draft for a few years, has switched to Starcraft 2 to play with the team Old Generations; and indeed, he is one of the few remaining active progamers from the old generation. Even as he attends school, goes to the military, and beyond, we can all be confident that NaDa, ever resilient and adaptive, will be successful wherever he goes, and that his legacy, intimately intertwined with that of the MSL, will last as long as the memory of Brood War lives.
Since I wrote that, NaDa went to Complexity and continued posting decent, but not great, results. He even dropped out of Code S once the format changed... and now, just as Korean professional Brood War breathes its last, Lee Yun Yeol is fittingly moving on as well.
To NaDa, from all your adoring fans: thank you, godspeed, and good luck.
+ Show Spoiler [Bonus] +