What's NBA and Nivea got in common? Alexandre Gaules Borba — a Twitch streamer nefariously known for his Counter-Strike games. This 37-year-old Brazilian streamer is globally the second-most popular streamer who recently made it to the news when Twitch banned and unbanned him for accidentally streaming an NBA game in unpermitted regions.
Why are we talking about him today? Well, for one thing, his improbable journey signifies the ups and downs of a creator's life — and how they can rise onwards and upwards.
Who is Alexandre “Gaules” Borba?
Gaules (which is his screen name) is one of the most-viewed streamers, but his story began long before Twitch became mainstream. He has been playing Counter-Strike professionally for years now, and in 2007, he became one of the first CS coaches in the world. Gaules has about 3.33M followers and 392M views on Twitch, and his net worth is estimated to be more than $1M.
Of course, like most content creators, his life was on a different plane before streaming. After briefly working at Samsung, he took up content creation for teams and brands, especially those that participated in Brasil Gaming League.
When Twitch's 'PogChamp of the Day' or Play of Game Champ was active, Gaules was the PogChamp for 24 hours — an achievement that not many CS:GO Twitch streamers got to unlock.
He is also the #1 Portuguese channel on Twitch, and while he usually streams in Portuguese, he has managed to gather a global audience. Gaules mostly streams CS but his widely-streamed games also include Among Us, Grand Theft Auto V, amongst many others.
Gaules also helped put together X5 Mega Arena (XMA), which is an online sports arena (about 4,000sqm) operating as a gaming community. At this point you must be wondering — everything looks on-fleek, what changed things for Gaules then? 🤔
Not All Days are Rosy
The first tragedy hit when the X5 Mega Arena fell apart in 2017 and he had to exit his former projects; financial uncertainty lingered and on the personal front too things fell apart. Soon, Gaules was diagnosed with depression, and his girlfriend asked him to leave their house. Dealing with the heartbreak and financial crisis all the while he was wrestling with depression took a toll on him.
Gaules launched his streaming channel a few months later with the bare minimum — he only had a computer, a table, and a mattress, which were tucked in a small apartment. Many a time he remarked how streaming was his therapy, and he'd stream throughout the night. Nights were when the lonely and insomniacs would feel more isolated, so Gaules' idea was to connect and spend time with them; sometimes, he streamed for over 16 hours. In 2019, he streamed every single day. To think about it, Gaules hardly had any money then. Perhaps not enough to pay his rent too.
Today, he makes about $356,786 monthly. What makes Gaules remarkable is his kindness — from donating to climate causes and NGOs to his followers who are unable to afford education or medication, he goes above and beyond. Gaules's childhood wasn't very comfortable so he understands the significance of giving back.
In due course, he started streaming regional and local tournaments, that even local studios weren't able to crack. He literally put the regional gaming scene on the map and how! Most of his streamers feel like they're a part of his friends' circle than a streaming channel — that's what we felt too.
Then arrived the game changer! 💥
The Big Deal: NBA Partnership
The next two years Gaules won viewers and bagged sponsors, but he struck gold with the NBA partnership. In 2021, he announced it on YouTube — a video featuring glimpses from basketball tournaments and Gaules with a tattoo 'resilience' on the back of his palm. NBA has been meaning to stream its games on Twitch and it finally took the plunge with him in June 2021. Gaules was the first Brazilian streamer that NBA collaborated with.
As the finale approached, Gaules and his viewers learned a lot more about the game, which helped NBA and Gaules foster a community or a tribe (that’s how he refers his followers).
But this was only the beginning as Gaules also launched a podcast with the legendary Ronaldo on Twitch in December 2021. Called Phenomena, this podcast featured Neymar Jr in less than a few weeks of the launch.
This podcast is streamed on both Gaules and Ronaldo’s channels on Twitch.
When Nivea decided to venture into Brazilian esports, Gaules was their obvious choice for the partnership. A certain remark by Nivea's spokesperson for Sports Business Journal illustrates how the brand's motto and Gaules' life are in tandem. 👇🏼
Indeed Nivea signifies why a content creator’s personal life matters, because we often picture a their lives to be glamorous. But here's the thing — despite a mess, they put themselves out there. Not always are we familiar with the bad storms stirring in their lives. It takes enormous fortitude to come out of challenging situations. Gaules has! And the fact that he actively contributes to the community or his 'tribe' and personal growth makes him worth celebrating.