For 17 years and 15 seasons, he played only in Anyang. He didn’t shine brilliantly, but he was the player the team needed more than anyone else. For Yang Hee-jong (39, Anyang KGC Ginseng Corporation), the best unsung hero in the basketball world, this season is the last of his career.
The KGC Ginseng Corporation team announced on the 22nd, “KGC Captain Yang Hee-jong announced his retirement after the end of the KBL 2022-2023 season.” In May of last year, he signed a 3-year contract with KGC as a free agent (FA), and although the contract period is still remaining, he decided to take off his uniform to prepare for his second life when the team is doing well.
Yang Hee-jong has never left the team for 17 years since joining in 2007, so it is difficult for fans to let him go.
At one time, some basketball fans also received sarcastic remarks. Because he mainly played the role of blocking the opponent’s ace regardless of his position, his scoring power decreased, and his attack power tended to deteriorate as he focused on this role. He was also called ‘Murok (no record)’, which is an unfunny nickname, because there are many cases where the goal score is not found even after finishing a game. His career 3-pointers are only 0.9 per game.
Nonetheless, he endured for 17 years with the defensive power that offsets this. In 2008, he won the rookie award at the Sports Toto Korean Basketball Awards, won the best defense award in the 2013-2014 season, and was named the 5th defense 6 times. Based on this, he was consistently selected for the national team. At the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, he won a silver medal, and four years later, at the Incheon Games, he played an active part in the gold medal myth.
For two years from the 2017-2018 season, unlike the nickname ‘Yang Murok’, he worked hard to strengthen his offensive power. In two seasons, Yang Hee-jong turned into a 3-point shooter, hitting an average of 1.6 3-point shots. The result is only possible because of continuous efforts. This is the part where you can read the whole of Yang Hee-jong’s career. In the 6th game of the 2011-2012 season championship match, he gave the team the championship trophy with the final goal to confirm the championship, and in the 6th game of the 2016-2017 season championship game, he made 8 3-pointers, making it an existence that KGC fans could not hate. He gave KGC three championship trophies. 먹튀검증
Since 2014, he has led the team as a captain, and as a dedicated and communicative leader, he has established the team as a KBL powerhouse.
It reminds me of a famous line from the basketball cartoon Slam Dunk, which has recently been released as a movie and is becoming a hot topic again. Byun Deok-gyu of Neungnam High School approaches Chae Chi-soo of Buksan High School, who is struggling during a match against Sanwang Technical High School, and tells him, “You are a flounder. Be muddy.” His advice is to lead the team to victory by taking the lead in doing dirty work for the team rather than trying to imitate a player with outstanding skills. Yang Hee-jong took on a supporting role throughout his career. He was a player far from glamorous, but the glorious achievements of KGC and the national team could never be discussed without Yang Hee-jong.
Although his playing time has decreased noticeably this season, Yang Hee-jong’s presence alone is a great strength. He spares no advice for his juniors and when he goes to the game, he runs more than anyone else. This is one of the reasons why KGC can run at the top this season even though coach Kim Seung-gi and Jeon Seong-hyun left for Goyang Carrot side by side.
Yang Hee-jong said through the club, “Anyang is my life. During my 17 years of playing, I learned life by experiencing happiness, joy, frustration and sadness with the team.” From the final journey of my life to the upcoming playoffs, I will do my best like a basketball player ‘Yang Hee-jong’.”
KGC plans to hold Yang Hee-jong’s retirement ceremony by designating the last home game against Wonju DB on the 26th of next month as ‘Captain Day’. In addition, to commemorate the end of Yang Hee-jong during the playoffs, it will be operated as a ‘Last Defense’ period.