Jame on memes about him: "It's cool; I should've boosted my media presence off the back of the hype"

The Virtus.pro captain talks about 'Jame time', and opens up about his private life in the first of a two-part interview conducted by Alexey "⁠OverDrive⁠" Birukov.

Dzhami "⁠Jame⁠" Ali has been a mainstay in the upper echelons of the CIS scene for over three years now, enjoying a rise to stardom in 2019 as he helped AVANGAR to the StarLadder Major final and to victory at BLAST Pro Series Moscow, where he was named the MVP of the tournament, prior to the team's transfer to Virtus.pro, one of the biggest and most prestigious organisations in the region.

Jame sat down with OverDrive to discuss his career

In the first part of this interview, which was conducted in Russian and then translated into English, Jame reveals when he was introduced to Counter-Strike and talks about his early days in the scene. He also says that he takes the memes about him with humour, though he admits that, in the past, "there were times when I shouldn't have saved."

Do you watch match streams? Which commentators do you like?

I usually watch streams with someone and we discuss the match, so I mute the sound. As such, I can't really say much about the commentators.

Can you recommend any films or books that motivate you?

My main motivation comes from within. After you've finished a scrim, had your meal and chilled out, a thought comes to mind about not having done as much as you should have, and that you need to hit some Deathmatch or review demos. This process happens without any external motivation. Everything that you watch or read serves as food for your motivation, For example, I enjoy 'Dragon Ball', where obtaining power is considered the ultimate goal, it's literally the story of the series. Out of the more recent series, I enjoyed 'The Last Dance'.

Are there age boundaries in CS:GO? How long do you plan on playing?

CS:GO isn't old enough to make any conclusions. If we take me specifically, then I occasionally consider that at the age of 25 I might become a coach or walk away from an esports career, but then I take a week-long break and realise that there isn't much point in living without the game if that's all you're capable of and it brings you pleasure. I find it difficult to say something specific, as anything can happen. In any case, by the age of 30 there's a whole spectrum of things you can't ignore such as your family, health and side business. Overall, a person can't do the same thing for too long as he loses motivation. Any specialist has to progress in their work because if they do the same thing for too long it becomes a routine, and the same applies to CS. You can't be at the peak of your game at all times, and dedicate 100% of your time to CS. You can burn out at any moment, I'm lucky that I boost my motivation with some results.

How has the game impacted your health?

I recently found out that I have issues with my neck. Because of a sedentary lifestyle, I've developed issues with my spinal vertebrae, and at a certain point I had headaches for multiple weeks. A lot of players that I know have similar issues, and to ensure this doesn't happen we need to integrate sport into our lives. The last time I did any sport was during P.E. at university three years ago.

When were you in peak form?

Everything depends on what you define as your best form. It's a sensation that isn't easy to achieve, and maybe it doesn't even exist. What's more important is to perform consistently well!

How do you maintain the motivation to play at the top level?

The lifestyle that I have and the money that I make can be lost very quickly, and this thought keeps me alert. I appreciate what I currently have, namely a strong roster, a great organisation and essentially everything I need to achieve good results, and these are my main motivations. If you hop off the wagon it sure won't be easy to get back on it.

Has your wage affected your motivation?

Money is a good motivator but it isn't the main one. When you lose at a tournament, the last thing you're thinking about is money. Motivation is constructed out of a list of components, specifically a love for the game, your wage, responsibilities bestowed upon you and a wish to prove yourself to others. It's difficult to pinpoint which one of them has the most influence.

Have you ever let fame get to your head?

I'll answer this question just like other people have: people around me would know better. Generally, people frequently think that someone let fame get to their head. For example, you're playing with your friends and always trash-talk them when they mess up during a round. Some time passes and you end up joining a team, you even win a tournament. Then, when you're back to playing with your mates, you think twice about saying something toxic because it will be interpreted differently. If you start trash-talking them like you did way back then, they'll say you're full of yourself, that you consider yourself better, despite the fact that, in reality, you're acting just like you always have.

How did you come up with your nickname?

Initially, my nickname was Jake, but I saw a YouTuber with the same nickname, so I changed the "k" to an "m". The result turned out sounding similar to my name.

When did you first play CS?

When I was around five, my friend brought me to an internet café, where I played a couple of rounds of CS 1.6. The next time I played CS was around three years later. During 1.6 I didn't follow esports at all and only played on random servers. I started playing my first mix matches during Source, and joined my first official teams in CS:GO.

When did you realise you could become a professional player?

Probably when I won my first prize money, I don't really remember.

Jame laments the mistake that cost his team the match against MIBR at CAC 2019

Did you like CS:GO off the bat?

Yeah, I was really surprised at how you could just press the search button and it would automatically find you a match. That's how I got stuck into it for so long.

Tell us about your first serious team.

We assembled a team from a bunch of Southern guys and headed out to the Gameanoid event in Moscow. We lost to guys from Kazan, who had electronic playing for them at the time. For our next visit to Moscow, we assembled a stronger roster with PASHANOJ, erased, SEVERIN and tr3vl, and we managed to secure second place. We were playing under the "Gnet Cafe" tag, which was an internet cafe in Krasnodar that sponsored our trip to Moscow. Before AVANGAR I played in a team called Hala Ares alongside PASHANOJ, and if naumoff hadn't received a VAC ban, then we would've made it to the Minor. There were also teams called NOVA and Comanche, but I don't remember if either of those organizations paid me even a single rouble. Usually, young teams are promised a lot if you play under an organization's tag, but you don't receive any money.

What do you remember from that period of time?

I remember that I had serious ping issues. Back then there were a lot of events after which you had to submit your demos, and obviously everyone that I beat asked me to send them my demo. It took me around an hour to upload them. If my team participated at such an event, then it could stretch out until 5 in the morning because we'd have to add an extra hour to each match so that I could upload my demo. I also remember moving in with PASHANOJ, where we farmed FACEIT together, landing winning streaks of 70 games in a row.

How did you decide to use "RDFG" as your movement keys?

I think I saw GeT_RiGhT use them, and I realised that it's logical to have additional keys to the left of your hand.

How do you feel about the memes associated with you?

It's cool. I should've boosted my media presence off the back of the hype, maybe I'll regret not monetising it later on. On the other hand, had I abused the memes for money then the charm of it would be gone.

The most popular meme of them all is 'Jame time'.

In the past, there were times when I shouldn't have saved. We were inexperienced, and we'd frequently destroy our own economy with these saves. When it comes to slow plays on ecos, it's fun to wait out an UZI with a USP. The person is frag-hunting, so they'll run right at you, but these days the level of play has improved, so it doesn't really work anymore. Players run off to save in a single position, so it's better to land some damage before the bomb blows. 'Jame time' has different interpretations actually. One of them is when I land a nasty clutch, the other when I save. At the Major, for example, 'Jame time' was connected specifically with impressive kills.

How has the pandemic affected you and the team?

Firstly, we haven't seen each other as a team since February. When you travel three times a month, you tend to think that it'd be nice to relax at home for a couple of months, but when you've been sitting at home for half a year, you realise that you miss travelling. We're serious about the coronavirus, and how can you not be serious about it when every single person has elders in their family, who are at high risk?

Tell us about your wage growth.

My first wage was 10,000 roubles (~130$ USD), but that was a one-time payment to make sure I would sit and train, back when I was playing with PASHANOJ. In AVANGAR we started with a $300 salary, but when we secured second place at our first event, it went up to $500. Later, depending on the team's results, our wage would grow by $300 every time, and by the Major it reached a very respectable sum for a pro player in the CIS region. After we secured second place at the Major it increased further. With Virtus.pro, our wage depends on our [HLTV] ranking. When we would lose a lot it would substantially decrease, but now we've returned to good remuneration.

What was your largest expense with the money you've earned?

I helped my mum with her flat. As for myself, I bought an iPhone and Balenciaga clothing.

Name your favourite victory and most bitter loss.

My favourite victories are Flashpoint and BLAST. The most bitter loss has to be our match against MIBR at the CS:GO Asia Championship in Shanghai, where at 15-14 I made a poor play and we lost the match. You can't say I ruined the match, as anyone could have taken things into their hands, but I had a solid chance of winning the match. I peeked short with an AWP and was met with an SG.

Jame says that the BLAST Pro Series Moscow victory is one of the best moments of his career

Tell us about your family.

My father is from Afghanistan and my mother is Russian. They're divorced, so I lived with my mother and grandmother in Russia.

Who did you want to become as a kid?

I really liked movies about offices, where people in suits would have meetings and make decisions, so I wanted to become an office worker.

Do you have a dream outside of esports?


Do you have higher education?

No, I only finished the first year. I don't plan to finish my education in the future.

Have you worked outside of esports?

Yes, I delivered newspapers for a couple of days. I also worked as a surveyor assistant where I helped carry and set up equipment.

What's your favourite food?

I like Russian dumplings, pizza and borscht. I enjoy simple food.

What's your favourite music to listen to?

I have around 8,000 tracks in my playlist, and you can find anything on it, from rap to k-pop in it.

Will you allow your kids to get into esports?

It can't simply be a waste of time at the PC, rather a systematic approach within a correct surrounding. If it becomes apparent that my kid has a future in esports, then, of course, I'd only be supportive.

Do you have any fears?

The most obvious one is death, and the rest of my fears are as a result of the fear of death. My other fears aren't very pronounced.

Are you religious?

I haven't formulated my position about this question.

What was your biggest mistake in life?

In terms of the game, as I mentioned previously, it was peeking TACO with a 15-14 scoreline, losing both the round and the match. As for life, my mistake is that I'm not involved in sports, and I make that mistake every day. Besides that, I can't say I've made any life-altering mistakes.

You've visited a long list of countries. Which ones have you enjoyed the most?

It just so turns out that I like countries where we win or just have a good showing as a team, for example Ukraine, Germany and Romania.

In the second part of the interview, which will be released Friday, Jame talks about AVANGAR's rise to the top, including the miraculous run at the StarLadder Major, the team's struggles after signing for Virtus.pro, the replacement of veteran Dauren "⁠AdreN⁠" Kystaubayev, among other topics.

Russia Dzhami 'Jame' Ali
Dzhami 'Jame' Ali
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Russia Alexey 'OverDrive' Birukov
Alexey 'OverDrive' Birukov
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Kazakhstan Dauren 'AdreN' Kystaubayev
Dauren 'AdreN' Kystaubayev
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Jame time
2020-12-24 18:00
27 replies
2020-12-24 18:02
15 replies
Interview with Jesus on Christmas Eve? coincidence? I do not think
2020-12-24 18:07
14 replies
2020-12-24 19:38
haha =D
2020-12-24 20:05
2020-12-24 20:08
2020-12-24 21:48
Well done , well done.
2020-12-24 22:22
2020-12-25 07:36
2020-12-25 07:49
2020-12-25 13:55
Austria Ostmark
made my day
2020-12-25 14:28
Bulgaria gosholin
lmao +1
2020-12-25 14:54
2020-12-25 16:17
he is Rasputins sons sons sons son..
2020-12-25 20:56
2020-12-25 23:19
Denmark dyinbyran
2020-12-26 14:45
Japan Yuukek
2020-12-24 18:07
5 replies
2020-12-24 18:10
Why u bully him Germany?
2020-12-24 20:09
3 replies
2020-12-25 12:09
1 reply
Denmark dyinbyran
2020-12-26 14:45
What are you doing stepbro
2020-12-26 14:49
Jame might consider search a doctor of smth. Really signs of Alzeimer. The guy said at least 5 times that wont remember things that happen in like 3 years WTF?
2020-12-24 19:30
Vp as an org can't keep its players happy You can really tell
2020-12-24 19:34
Germany I_car
Pashanoj made Jame!!!!
2020-12-24 19:51
Jame time
2020-12-24 20:14
Poland baba_booey
save time
2020-12-24 20:24
Australia B_Tannen
2020-12-24 18:02
1 reply
It was complete JAME TIME here in Cologne.
2020-12-25 02:04
Happy birthday jame
2020-12-24 18:02
9 replies
2020-12-24 22:21
India magizhchi
2020-12-24 22:24
2020-12-24 23:37
Underrated comment
2020-12-25 00:00
2020-12-25 00:39
Sweden Fizze
2020-12-25 01:25
2020-12-25 08:58
Norway odinsg
2020-12-25 12:07
2020-12-26 17:11
IT's okay, we still love to have Jame time
2020-12-24 18:02
It is jamesday my dudes
2020-12-24 18:02
1 reply
true dat
2020-12-24 21:44
Europe Theivze
It's nice how he goes along with it
2020-12-24 18:03
chan | 
Denmark zeiko
2020-12-24 18:03
Greenland kinley377
great interview!
2020-12-24 18:03
you know what time it is
2020-12-24 18:03
2020-12-24 18:04
Jame listens to k-pop uh oh
2020-12-24 18:04
4 replies
When someone listens to everything, I think it's wrong to label them as a 'k-pop listener'
2020-12-24 18:41
2 replies
Canada firtlast
one song is enough
2020-12-24 21:54
1 reply
2020-12-25 06:06
kpop is good
2020-12-25 00:31
2020-12-24 18:05
1 reply
India magizhchi
Rip BlessRNG
2020-12-24 22:25
2020-12-24 18:07
United Kingdom SyptechSr
2020-12-24 18:07
2020-12-24 18:07
Are you religious? I haven't formulated my position about this question. LUL is it really hard to say? xd
2020-12-24 18:08
9 replies
Either way, you're going to offend some people. Better to avoid it
2020-12-24 18:10
3 replies
completely agree
2020-12-24 21:45
who the fuck gives a shit whether you offend someone with stating YOUR personal religious stance
2020-12-28 09:41
1 reply
the person who is offended? hello?
2020-12-29 02:13
12 yo spotted
2020-12-24 18:11
1 reply
2020-12-24 18:41
Some people just don't want to talk about this or are in some strange 'place' when we talk about religion
2020-12-24 18:40
american iq haven't spotted yet
2020-12-24 18:52
Canada firtlast
not when you live in russia
2020-12-24 21:54
Interviewer should have ask what time is it lol
2020-12-24 18:09
1 reply
wait for the second part tho, jame time comes at the end
2020-12-24 21:46
my boy
2020-12-24 18:09
Poland seinterc
2020-12-24 18:11
Finland ballu609
Birukov's interviews are always top tier!
2020-12-24 18:13
1 reply
2020-12-24 20:58
Imagine reaching the major finals on maybe a $1400 salary and you play against literal millionaires from EU, who play the exact same game. Life is rough.
2020-12-24 18:14
6 replies
It is all same for CIS, average salary in Russia (except Moscow and Saint-Petersburg) is $300-350 My gf lives in Finland and she gets around 1800€ working in a restaurant. I would have around $250-300 in my hometown for the same amount of work
2020-12-24 18:18
5 replies
Finland Teukkasd
^^ finland best country mens))
2020-12-24 19:17
2 replies
United States 3manu3l
Give free HEALTHCARE PLS MENS)))))))))))
2020-12-24 19:32
No it isn't, too high taxes
2020-12-24 22:19
average salary in Russia is $300-350, but not in top-tier esports and media
2020-12-24 21:47
1 reply
Still isn't comparable to top-tier esports and media salaries in EU/NA
2020-12-24 22:20
Jametime again
2020-12-24 18:15
2020-12-24 18:18
"As for myself, I bought an iPhone and Balenciaga clothing." typical russian, thinks that expensive = the best lmaoo
2020-12-24 18:18
14 replies
Your opinion = his opinion?
2020-12-24 18:42
5 replies
my opinion = the truth
2020-12-24 18:42
4 replies
lol no
2020-12-24 21:59
3 replies
lol yes, what are your arguments? androids are much cheaper and you can do so much more with them than with an iphone, i wont even talk about the clothes, theyre only that, clothes, youre paying so much more money for a logo
2020-12-25 01:24
2 replies
Sweden crittaN
2020-12-25 02:40
1 reply
2020-12-25 09:35
Russia Kamunist
typical scandinavian probably thinks utilizing secondhand clothes saves the planet ayy
2020-12-24 19:52
3 replies
i dont give a shit about the planet but android > ishit and balenciaga and any other super expensive clothing brand is just like any other, stupid people dont pay for the product, they pay for the brand
2020-12-24 20:45
2 replies
he is just young, he will undestand more with time
2020-12-24 21:48
you sound so salty when you have to call it "ishit" kek its just a fucking phone
2020-12-25 01:05
cry is free Oppo and H&M user
2020-12-24 20:40
the question was "the largest expense" tho, not the best.
2020-12-25 05:10
2 replies
Kazakhstan Tarob
then buy expensive android 4Head
2020-12-25 06:21
just shows how dumb he is, expensive things although theyre just like any other
2020-12-25 17:47
Great interview
2020-12-24 18:27
2020-12-24 18:30
2020-12-24 18:32
2020-12-24 18:33
Jordan Zereeni
jame <3
2020-12-24 18:33
2020-12-24 18:33
Jame 🥰
2020-12-24 18:37
he seems like such a cool guy. Really smart answers too. JAME TIME BOIIIIIS
2020-12-24 18:41
k-pop! he's one of us
2020-12-24 18:41
Russia Syonamaru
— Are you religious? — I haven't formulated my position about this question. Jesus
2020-12-24 18:46
1 reply
2020-12-24 18:52
Its Jame time 😎
2020-12-24 18:45
I bought an iPhone and Balenciaga clothing. lmao Jame fucking legend
2020-12-24 18:47
best article xddd
2020-12-24 18:48
Serbia LtN))
Jame time
2020-12-24 18:49
Jame time BlessRNG
2020-12-24 18:51
Latvia YungPan666
2020-12-24 18:53
Ruski Jesus Pog
2020-12-24 19:03
2020-12-24 19:06
Finland Teukkasd
He enjoyed series ’the last dance ’ POG JAME LIKES BASKETBALL
2020-12-24 19:08
1 reply
United States FriesNcoke
I had a whoosh moment. Thought it was some version of dbz or something he was referencing
2020-12-24 20:35
2020-12-24 19:21
hltv ranking salary expected from vp ceo
2020-12-24 19:23
3 replies
+1 rat org and rat ceo
2020-12-24 21:17
2 replies
tbh he saved navi from that washed up dogshit roster with the rat move, and now they are better than ever, so i dont get why some people are still mad about it
2020-12-25 16:05
1 reply
because rat moves are rat moves...
2020-12-25 16:40
Europe Nomarosa
2020-12-24 19:24
'Jame time' has different interpretations actually. One of them is when I land a nasty clutch, the other when I save. At the Major, for example, 'Jame time' was connected specifically with impressive kills. ???????
2020-12-24 19:27
2 replies
twitch chat is nobraining so if jame does thing it is jame time.
2020-12-24 19:43
what's the problem?
2020-12-25 05:31
Pretty ITW, we learn a lot about Jame. Wait to see more
2020-12-24 19:34
Chile cristiaan
2020-12-24 19:41
2020-12-24 19:42
Sweden saamuel
sounds like a great guy
2020-12-24 20:02
hes even more boring than i imagined
2020-12-24 20:09
interview of jesus on Christmas eve lmao hltv outdoing themselves
2020-12-24 20:10
Do you have a dream outside of esports? No. LOOOOOOOOOOOOL
2020-12-24 20:12
1 reply
csgo 4 life PogChamp
2020-12-25 03:37
2020-12-24 20:31
Ffs get that dude some education...
2020-12-24 20:31
Morocco royflord
"Can you recommend any films or books that motivate you? My main motivation comes from within. " he doesn't read books
2020-12-24 20:37
ez 4 the best pubg player
2020-12-24 20:44
2020-12-24 20:44
Borscht is Ukrainian national dish, russia has another one called Shi
2020-12-24 20:51
2 replies
2020-12-24 22:20
mir | 
Russia M13F
2020-12-25 16:56
Europe t.o.p
Intelligent guy
2020-12-24 20:59
at least he's honest
2020-12-24 21:12
James time
2020-12-24 21:36
So Jame listen to k-pop huh
2020-12-24 21:59
great interview
2020-12-24 22:00
Overdrive with bestest lenghy in depth interviews
2020-12-24 22:24
2020-12-24 22:38
2 replies
dumb ruski fakeflagger LOL
2020-12-25 17:02
nt jesus_is_jame
2020-12-28 09:42
Really bad questions, but I like the way Jame answers them. Great guy :)
2020-12-24 23:02
2 replies
2020-12-24 23:25
tbh i think this is just supposed to be a wholesome xmas interview
2020-12-25 06:08
so empty...
2020-12-24 23:03
Poland SebL
I don't think that CS:GO has an age barieer, it's just the matter of when you want to create a family, because it's hard to have family and train CS 8 hours a day. It's weird that ppl earn a lot of money from playing a video game and yet they lose motivation so often. I always like to listen about how pros nickname came out, it's a good storie a lot of the time. The funny thing is that there liking CS is something that requires a lot of time, when I started playing it I didn't like it, I was just playing it with friends, then when I started playing better I wanted to get better and better with time so it was really interesting. Are there many ppl using RDFG as their movement keys? I'm really interested. It's really sad how the pandemic has affected the world, I hope it will be better soon. VP has been looking great lately, TOP 10 team for me, it's great for them that they won FLASHPOINT. Also it's really interesting what players do after they retire, because every player has to retire at some point, and what they are doing then, what kind of job do they take, it was always interesting to me, for example what Zeus is doing atm. Pizza is one of the favourite food of like 80% of the world I feel like, isn't it? Also am I the only who fears a lot of thing but not death? Is it weird from me or anyone has the same? Oh and Germany is a really beautiful country, I agree with Jame here.
2020-12-24 23:21
what time is it?
2020-12-24 23:53
2020-12-24 23:53
2020-12-25 00:05
Hungary Doybik
Maybe I'm dumb but how do you make money off a meme?
2020-12-25 00:47
2020-12-25 01:01
Nice Jame GL
2020-12-25 01:02
Chile gentleeH
2021 IS JAME TIME 24/7
2020-12-25 01:08
Brazil diixon
Happy Birthday Jame - 25th december
2020-12-25 01:26
United Kingdom novaseer
2020-12-25 01:38
jame <3
2020-12-25 01:41
He sounds like a fun person tbh.
2020-12-25 02:01
Brazil de_lite
jame with the balenciaga fit
2020-12-25 03:56
Very nice interview. Great responses from Jame firstmost. I miss more info about PASHANOJ, because he was mentioned a lot. Is that a move? They must play really well together. There should have been age info on text imo also. Thanks
2020-12-25 05:35
Kazakhstan JDMkz
Jame smart watch time
2020-12-25 05:36
keeN | 
Kazakhstan Dosss
key word, Avangar rise to top after “kazakh goat Adren”
2020-12-25 05:49
How tall is this dude?
2020-12-25 05:57
It's Jame Time! Ez 4 Jame Jesus!
2020-12-25 06:10
Chile nachooww
2020-12-25 06:25
Chile strong221
nice guy, JAME TIMEEE
2020-12-25 08:39
2020-12-25 08:53
Hows it possible that an org of that size pays salary based on the current hltv ranking this must be a joke right?:D
2020-12-25 09:07
1 reply
in Patrik Zeros podcast with styko, Zero told that hellraisers were also paying by hltv ranking iirc. Its super weird to me too tho
2020-12-25 09:37
Do you have any fears? "The most obvious one is death, and the rest of my fears are as a result of the fear of death. My other fears aren't very pronounced." that explains why he i saving all the time
2020-12-25 12:01
2 replies
2020-12-25 14:52
2020-12-25 21:50
Canada puckpuck
2020-12-25 13:54
1 reply
2020-12-25 14:51
Guys remember Godsent top 1 in 2021
2020-12-25 14:37
2 replies
2020-12-25 14:52
1 reply
you will eat your reply in 2021 LUL rusky rusky
2020-12-25 14:56
Future navi player 😍
2020-12-25 15:07
Are you religious? I haven't formulated my position about this question. LUL
2020-12-25 15:16
Wow, didn't know about his RDFG movement.
2020-12-25 16:07
What? Save time? Always thought jame time was when he was dominating the server. Triple kills.. quad kills.. smoke kills.. Proper carry and chat were spaming jame time.. no mention of saving and having brain lag..
2020-12-25 20:56
With Virtus.pro, our wage depends on our [HLTV] ranking. When we would lose a lot it would substantially decrease, but now we've returned to good remuneration. This can't be real... wtf
2020-12-25 23:54
Slovakia Adwarin
I like these interviews.
2020-12-27 20:32
Hi guys!
2020-12-30 13:54
2020-12-30 20:56
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