Sunday, December 19, 2010

High Entertainment, Low Cost- Korean Pro Basketball

Ten teams make up the Korean Basketball League (KBL). Even the names are entertaining:
Wonju Dongbu Promy
Ulsan Mobis Phoebus
Seoul Samsung Thunders
Seoul SK Knights
Changwon LG Sakers
Daegu Orions
Incheon ET-Land Elephants
Jeonju KCC Egis
Anyang Korea Ginseng Corporation KGC
and our hometeam:
Busan KT Sonicboom
The two American players on Sonicboom make it feel even more like they’re our home team. See if you can spot them:

This early on in the season, the stadium wasn’t too full. This little boy had a great time, despite the one point loss. His favorite cheer was “K. T. Son- Ic- Boom. OLE!” Make sure to throw your hands up in the air on “Ole.”

The game itself was a tight one. According the Shane, the level of play isn’t quite world class. For perspective, there has only ever been one Korean to play in the NBA, and he is 7 foot, 3 inches tall. Nevertheless, their skills are developing. NBA Hall of Fame coach and player Lenny Wilkins is a big supporter of basketball in Korea. 
Also notable entertainment at Sonicboom games are the mascots:

The gray one seems to be some sort of wireless internet signal. KT is a cell phone company. The bird, therefore, must be what a Sonicboom looks like. 
At halftime, the staff brought a very embarrassed looking young woman to the middle of the floor, gave her flowers, and started showing a slideshow of her and her boyfriend, who a few moments later popped out of the costume and proposed to her. We think she said yes. 
Finally, we have the dance team, swinging their hair, scintillating the crowd:

We only paid for the cheap seats, at 8,000 won each (about $7.00). Those luxury courtside recliners run about 29,000 won per game. 
Finally, what’s a game without some snacks? Stadiums here don’t feature overpriced food. You have the option to bring your own in, or just hop over to the convenience store inside the stadium for a cheap can of beer or bag of chips. 

Korean basketball is a game of unspectaculars. But the three point shots and the de-fence cheers are the same. It feels sort of like home, even if there are no nachos. 

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