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For Mobis Center, Age Is Just a Number

Posted March. 23, 2006 03:03,   


Members of the pro basketball club Mobis celebrated their regular season championship at a sushi restaurant in Ulsan yesterday. The mood at the restaurant was jubilant because it was the first championship in team history.

Team captain Lee Chang-su (37) poured drinks for his teammates without drinking a single drop himself. But he smiled and patted his team players on the shoulder as if he had had a few drinks.

Lee was recently diagnosed positive with hepatitis B, goes to doctors for regular checkups of his liver every three months, and has been on medications ever since. He was first diagnosed with the liver disease in 1996.

Facing the prospect of having to quit basketball, he tried all kinds of folk remedies, ranging from Chinese folk medicines to drinking gallbladder bile from a wild boar in Australia. Some of the remedies actually yielded positive results. After two years spent in treatment and rehabilitation, Lee returned to the court in 1998.


Having gone through some tough times, Lee often hears younger teammates telling him that he seems to have grown younger. Mobis, a team plagued by frequent member change this season, owed much of its success to its 37-year-old center this year.

Tasked with battling physically dominating opposing players in the paint, Lee stood his ground. Lee is known for his diligence in practice as well. Seeing the veteran Lee practicing every single day, none of his teammates in Mobis dared to practice halfheartedly.

Lee’s success is an inspiration for younger Korean basketball players who tend to shun the center’s position.

“I’m happiest when I am on the basketball court. I hope I can feel like this for many years to come,” said Lee Chang-su, who has exceeded the normal retirement age for Korea’s basketball player. To him, his age is just a number.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com