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For Samsung Center, It’s Not the Shoes

Posted November. 30, 2005 07:19,   


Samsung’s center, Seo Jang-hun, has worn the same model of sneakers for the past several seasons.

It is a surprise considering that he gets paid 420 million won to play, and that sneakers with new looks and functions pour into the market every month.

Seo says he feels awkward if there is even a slightest change in his outfit. Seo, a gigantic figure of a man 207cm tall and weighing 115kg, has a rather meticulous side. He is the last one to step out onto the court in warm-up sessions because he always takes his time carefully taping his ankles and stretching his body in the locker room.

Seo experienced a small change this season. He has been getting less playing time. For the past seven seasons, he would play an average of 38 minutes per game. That was cut down to 33 minutes this season. Seo now has more time to breathe, thanks to two foreign players that joined the Samsung, who are said to be the best Samsung has ever had.

Experts say Samsung will become stronger if Seo’s playing time is reduced to less than 30 minutes. Seo Jang-hun must conserve his energy for his role in critical moments.

Seo Jang-hun does not like the idea. Less playing time means fewer points and rebounds. In the world of pro basketball, where only numbers speak for a player’s worth, he might be seen as going down hill. There is a chance Seo will face the same feud with the coaching staff over playing time, just like many other players in their thirties.

“You don’t save your stamina by resting for five more minutes. On the contrary, it could ruin your rhythm. The best way is to control your stamina while playing,” says Seo.

Samsung’s coaching staff will struggle to find a way to adjust Seo’s playing time without upsetting him.

Maybe Seo could use a little change too. He could start with a new pair of sneakers.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com