Jordan “Proofy” Cannon Shoots For Perfection In Call Of Duty

One of the best Call of Duty players in the world believes there's a lot to learn from League of Legends' success.
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Jordan DeAndre Cannon is known as “Proofy” to Call of Duty fans around the world. The pro gamer became hooked on gaming through his brothers and had a controller in his hand at age four (even if it was unplugged). By seven, he was a solid gamer and he continued hitting the sticks through high school. By the time his graduation rolled around at Edsel Ford High School in Detroit, he skipped walking down the aisle to compete in his first Major League Gaming (MLG) competition in Anaheim.

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Proofy went on to win MLG titles for Call of Duty: Black Ops in Dallas, Columbus, Anaheim, Raleigh and Orlando and other cities. He has also won competitions in the European Gaming League and placed high in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3. Gaming literally helped him support his single mother and rise from a life of poverty in Detroit. He’s now captain of Team EnVyUs and one of the top Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 players in the world.

Proofy, who’s sponsored by Astro Gaming, Scuf Gaming and Gamer Grip USA, was at GameStop Expo with Otter Box in Las Vegas to offer fans tips on how to shoot to kill in Treyarch’s hit game. He took a break from sniping to talk about the rise of pro gaming in this exclusive interview.

How have you seen eSports grow over the last few years?

I’m a player who has been around since COD 4, when tournaments weren’t that big and spectators weren’t there. I’ve seen the growth from there to now and it’s amazing. Just talking about Twitter followers, every pro player has gained over 40,000 Twitter followers over the course the year for Black Ops 2.  The growth is tremendous.  The sport is awesome and I love everything about it right now.

What role has livestreaming played for you guys over the last two years?

Livestreaming gives fans and supporters a better opportunity to get involved with us.  Now,    I’m playing on my personal stream.  We get to talk to fans in chats.  We get to read all their questions and answer anything people talk about.  It’s really just a better way to get involved with your supporters rather than them coming to tournaments and talking to you for a few seconds.  It’s better to have more streaming.

What are your thoughts about League of Legends and how it seems to be taking over eSports?

Just learn.  Learn from everything that LOL does.  Obviously, they’re already two steps ahead of us in every aspect as far as professionalism, team houses, contracted players.  They are what we want to be.  We need to continue to improve and learn from them.  Not hate on them.

When it comes to Call of Duty what’s it like being in a gaming house?

My team is in a team house now too so the growth is definitely there.  The numbers are there and the support is there.  I can see it growing and if it continues at this rate we will be there with LOL in no time.

When it comes to Black Ops 2, what role did having a former pro helping Treyarch develop that game have with eSports?

Treyarch pretty much have someone that’s real fast to get an inside voice. They might read our questions and they might listen to us, but Hastr0 actually works there.  He’s able to give them firsthand input into things like COD caster mode.  That was the best implementation you could put into the game.  I thought that was amazing for them to do. You can sit there and see the mini maps, where both teams are, how they’re attacking, how they’re rotating and strategies.  It brings a whole new game to the spectator experience and I love it.

Now, this is called eSports. Can you give us a sense of how much like a real sport you feel playing Call of Duty is?

I think of it as competition.  You want to beat that other guy and in anything you do in life as a sport, it’s you versus someone else and that’s how I think of it. The competitive aspect is up there with any other sport.

Do you have any background playing any traditional sports that have helped?

I played baseball. I’ve played basketball.  Baseball is my favorite sport.  I’ve played it all my life. It’s just about your composure. I’ve gained the most from real sports and playing online.  Your composure has to remain there. You can’t get nervous. You can’t free out. Just be a good person in general with all the fans and everything. You learn to control yourself and be a better person.

What do you feel you’ve sacrificed to become a professional eSports player?

I’ve sacrificed a lot. You have to make sacrifices when you’re chasing a dream that you want to do. That’s a problem with a lot of people putting forth that 110 percent effort to chase their dreams. I put everything aside and I have family and friends that understand what I’m doing.  With school, I took a break just to see where I can go with this and it’s been going really good. And if I need to go back to school or do anything that I need to go back to, I will.

Where do you see eSports in the U.S. five years from now if you want to compare it to other countries?

Televised and a professional sport.

How important will television be considering the success livestreaming has had?

It would just be an additional way to watch it. I think it would be bigger online than it would be on television, but anything televised makes it more official. It’s that you’re on TV. It’s that kind of aspect, so I definitely can see it being televised in the next five years.

What’s been a secret to your success thus far in Black Ops 2?

Sticking with one team. Don’t leave teams. Don’t hop around. Stay in a family. Stay in a home. Stay stable.

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John Gaudiosi
John Gaudiosi has been covering the video game business for over 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, Reuters, Fortune, AOL and CNN. He's EIC of video game site