There was a time when playing basketball seemed just too hard to continue. And now? Taking shots and running around the court have never felt better, even if it means training all day long.
Park Eun-jin (22, Shinsegae Coolcats) and Kang Yun-mi (23, Kumho Falcons) of the Womens Korea Basketball League. After a long, unstable period without a consistent team, the two players have been most eager for the WKBL Summer League season to arrive, which meets its grand opening on July 7.
Park Eun-jin, or The Pretty Guard, was picked first by the Kumho Falcons (formerly Kumho Life) during the 2002 draft, but announced her abrupt retirement last summer after being traded to the Shinsegae Coolcats. Injuries plagued her season and intense competition for a spot in the starting roster, without being able to achieve one, had brought her grief and sorrow.
However, she could not totally give up her affection for the game and taught students basketball at an institute that prepares students for physical university entrance exams; also earlier this year, she played as an amateur for Donga Department Stores in Daegu. It took the encouragement of others by her side for her return to Shinsegae. I regretted having left the court so suddenly. I wanted to play again.
Park trained more than ever for two months to prepare for this season, and averaged over 15.4 points per game in the pre-season Futures League, with a high three-point field goal percentage reaching close to 50 percent.
Park, who will be in charge of Shinsegaes offensive plays from the outer zones, showed her aspirations, saying, Time went by so fast. Im going to do better, enough to make up for what Ive missed out on.
Kang Yun-mi, who plays the role of center and stands 190 cm tall, traded teams with Park, moving from Shinsegae to Kumho. Kang had trouble adjusting to the team since joining Shinsegae in 1999, which led to a series of retirements and comebacks. She became Rookie of the Year in 2000, but left the court once again in 2001. After playing as an amateur for the Gyeongsangnamdo Sports Council, Kang joined a cellular phone manufacturer vendor last year, working as an employee of the shipment sector 10 hours a day.
Her passion for basketball rose amidst the hard labor and though it was tough, she was able to rejoin the Kumho Falcons.
Kang was selected as MVP for her performance in the Futures League, in which she averaged 20 points and 13 rebounds per game, an achievement that could only be gained through her daily training schemes lasting through the night and her determined resolution. I will give my best and wont let you down, said Kang.