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From “Forever Oppa” to “World Star Guanzino,” the genealogy of KBL’s popular stars

After Lee Sang-min, who reigned as the best star in Korean basketball, retired, there was a time when there was a high voice of concern about the birth of a new star. The worry was nothing more than a fiasco. There was a star who far exceeded Lee Sang-min’s record of the most votes in all-star fan voting, which seemed to be unbreakable, and this season, even a “world star” who is receiving global attention appeared. This is a summary of the genealogy of handsome or popular stars who have led the KBL box office success.
※We would like to inform you that this article was published in the February issue of Jumpball, a basketball magazine.

There was Lee Sang-min before Huh Woong
KCC moved to Busan and became a wasteland, but Jeonju was truly the “mecca of basketball” before. KCC is a team that performed car parades after winning the championship game in Jeonju and also showed street cheering for spectators who could not enter the gym before the championship game.

Lee Sang-min was the player who led KCC to a popular national team. During the nine seasons from 2001-2002 when All Star fan voting was introduced to Korea to 2009-2010 when he retired, Lee never missed the most votes. He was a bench member with only 3.8 points for 15 minutes and 48 seconds on average during the retirement season, but he still boasted of his popularity by receiving 53,891 votes (49 percent of the 109,673 votes) or half of the 109,673 votes cast by his fans.

Lee Sang-min was the most popular star produced by Korean basketball. When he was a student at Yonsei University, the news of his knee injury was covered by the 9 o’clock news, not sports news, and when KCC failed to keep Lee Sang-min in the process of recruiting FA Seo Jang-hoon, his fans visited the headquarters to protest. The press conference announcing his retirement was also crowded with fans who shed tears, saying, “Oppa, you said you will play for another year!” and “Please send my brother another team!”

He was not just a popular player. He was a superstar with all his skills. Lee was named MVP of the regular league for the first time in two consecutive seasons since the launch of the KBL, and posted a total of 3,583 assists. This is the second highest record after Joo Hui-jeong (5381 assists). In the semifinal match against the Philippines at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, he hit a dramatic buzzer beater, contributing to the gold medal. Lee moved to Samsung in Seoul after his prime, but at the age of 34, he displayed his robust performance by scoring a new personal record (35 points).

Yonsei University in the 1990s is also a must-have for Lee Sang-min. Handsome and good basketball players including Lee Sang-min, Moon Kyung-eun, Woo Ji-won, and Kim Hoon drove around the “oppa unit,” and there was even a car dedicated to post offices carrying fan letters sent to Yonsei University’s basketball team. Seo Jang-hoon recalled in an interview with Jumpball when he was an active player, “500 to 600 fans came to my accommodation every day, and more than 1,000 fan letters came to my room.”

While he is incomparable to Lee Sang-min in the “new world,” Woo Ji-won is considered the first among the “human world.” Woo, who served as a model for the cover of the first issue of the jump ball with Jeon Hee-chul, was called the “crown of the court” when he was a student at Yonsei University for his good looks. Not only was Woo ranked third (1,116) in the KBL’s three-point shooting, but he also saw a 40.1 percent success rate. The overall success rate of free throws was 86.3 percent.
Although he overcame his arm problems in a car accident he suffered in his childhood with constant efforts, Woo Ji-won always had a tag that followed him. He was evaluated as a “half player who only throws shots and does not do bad things.” He was receiving the highest salary in the team, but in the early part of the 2006-2007 season, when he played more games as a bench member, he visited Yoo Jae-hak, then head coach of Hyundai Mobis, and expressed 헤라카지노 his intention to retire.

It was a watershed moment in Woo’s basketball career. Woo woke up to bad things after hearing coach Yoo Jae-hak’s advice, “You need to lower yourself and think about what role your team needs.” “After the meeting with the coach, I looked at how many rebounds he had after the first half,” a Hyundai Mobis official recalled.

With a change in style, Woo’s nickname changed from Prince Hwang to Madangsoe, and Hyundai Mobis won the 2006-2007 season in a unified manner. That’s how manager Yoo Jae-hak, Woo Ji-won, and Yang Dong-geun tasted their first professional wins.

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