This article was published in the December 2022 issue of Basket Korea webzine. The interview was held on the afternoon of November 10, 2022. ( Link to purchase Basket Korea webzine )
Even in the early days of KBL, ‘donation’ was an unfamiliar word to basketball players and fans. However, one basketball player started spreading ‘donation’ into KBL’s culture. This is Jeong In-gyo (former coach at Soongui Girls’ High School) who was called the ‘three-point shooter of love’.
‘Donation’ is a way to return the love received from fans. It is also a way for basketball players and fans to communicate. Jeong In-gyo’s donation had a positive effect in that sense. The same was true of Jeong In-gyo’s life. Because he thought of ‘basketball’ and ‘love’ as the same word.
3-point shooter of love
There were many stars who embroidered the early days of KBL. Jeong In-gyo, who belonged to Wonju Narae, was one of them. He served as the main scorer for Jason Williford-Carle Ray Harris and Narae, and led Narae to the championship match in the first season of the KBL.
In addition, Jeong In-gyo was a representative shooter in the early days of the KBL. However, there is another reason why he received so much attention. This is because he donated 10,000 won to UNICEF for every successful 3-point shot, which earned him the nickname ‘3-point shooter of love’.
When I think of Jeong In-gyo, what comes to mind is ‘3-point shooter of love’.
When professional basketball was born, it gained a lot of popularity. However, Narae, where I was, hadn’t received much support since the days of Korea Development Bank.
However, our wing performed much better than the evaluations around us. I also received a lot of love from the fans. I wanted to repay the fans’ support in some way. So I thought of a way to contribute to society.
I asked several people for advice. At that time, an acquaintance told me an example of NBA players’ ‘Donation’. I thought that would be a good way. It was a time when there were very few players who donated in domestic sports, and I thought it was something I had to do as a professional player.
I also thought about how. People around me suggested, “How about donating every time you hit a 3-point shot?” Agreed. Even if I’m not good at other things, I’m specialized in 3-point shooting. Fortunately, the performance of the season when I started donating was also good. I think a number of factors fit well together.
It seems that the heyday of ‘player Jeong In-gyo’ was in the days of Wonju Narae. Please look back on that time.
His personal record wasn’t bad even during his Industrial Bank days. Since the 1994-1995 basketball party, we have ranked first in points and three-point shots for two consecutive seasons. But the team was weak, so my record didn’t get much attention. The team also didn’t get a lot of support. When I saw my brother’s unit, I felt envious.
However, as I turned pro, grades and other factors meshed well. In particular, thanks to two good foreign players (Jason Williford-Carl Ray Harris), the defense that was focused on me was dispersed. So I played basketball in a fun and comfortable way.
You decided to retire in 2004.
I was confused even when I was first traded (Jung In-gyo, who belonged to Narae, was traded to Busan Kia along with Jason Williford after the 1997-1998 season). I had a hard time adapting to the team color, so I walked downhill, not downhill, and there was a sense of loss.
However, after a few years of professional life, I felt that ‘professionals are like this’. I also thought, ‘I should have worked harder…’. Also, if I played the central role well in the team, the end would have been beautiful too… It was a pity that I couldn’t.
Jeong In-gyo retired after the 2003~2004 season. From the 2005-2006 season, he started his leadership career as a coach for Gwangju Shinsegae Cool Cat (now Bucheon Hana OneQ). During that season, he also served as acting manager.
Since 2007, he has become the official commander of Shinsegae. And he coached the Shinsegae players for close to six years. He was with top WKBL players such as Lim Young-hee (current Asan Woori Bank coach) and Kim Jong-un (current Asan Woori Bank).
But trouble came. The dissolution of the new world. KEB Hana Bank (now Hana One Q) took over the Shinsegae team, but Jeong In-gyo became unemployed. However, he took a broader view of basketball as a commentator for SBS SPORTS.
And Incheon Shinhan Bank held Jeong In-gyo’s hand. Jeong In-gyo became the manager of Shinhan Bank from the 2014-2015 season. However, he did not accompany Shinhan Bank for long. This is because he voluntarily resigned due to poor performance in the middle of the 2015-2016 season.
Since 2005, he started the leader as a coach for Gwangju Shinsegae Cool Cat (now Bucheon Hana One Q).
After he retired, he was resting. At that time, coach Kim Yun-ho recommended him to become a coach. So he started coaching.
From 2007 to 2012 he was the head coach of the New World.
About six months after I joined as a coach, manager Kim Yun-ho voluntarily resigned. I served as acting manager for about a year and a half. And since 2007, he has been the full-time director.
I was young too, and the team was mainly made up of young players. Although I did not demonstrate my competence, I established a guiding philosophy and learned my skills as a leader.
I remember that Shinsegae’s support was poor.
The athletic environment was like that, and the supply and demand of players was not easy. At the time, the trade or free agent (FA) market was not active.
The only way to overcome that was with practice. However, it was not an unconditional practice. I prepared in detail and thought of a detailed practice method. It was a difficult time, but it was also a very rewarding time.
You said so, but it seems that the difficulties were great.
Shinsegae won three consecutive years with good players in the early days. However, after those players qualified as free agents, they left the team. The support was poor, and the player composition was not good. There were many difficulties.
Above all, it was the first time coaching female players. First of all, you have to teach them in more detail than male players. And female athletes enter the pros right out of high school. My understanding of basketball is really lacking. I have to catch up on all those things.
Also, there is a unique culture that only female players have. Both the physical condition and the psychological state are different from male athletes. But I started not knowing those things. For that reason, I think the difficulty was greater. Due to various factors, it was a lot of personal trial and error. There are difficult and regrettable things, but I felt my lack the most.
From the 2012-2013 season, he served as a commentator for SBS SPORTS.
Both KBL and WKBL commented. I was able to understand the color of each team, and I was able to learn the guidance methods of many leaders. I also figured out how to use players, which was difficult to see on the court (when to put players in, when to give players a break, etc.) and when to request time. When he was coaching Shinhan Bank’s �� and Soong’s girls’ high school, he even combined those things.
He served as the director of Incheon Shinhan Bank from 2014 to 2016. How was it different from the Shinsegae era?
The player support and player composition did not even compare to the Shinsegae era. It was so good. But there is something I overlooked. It’s just that I couldn’t mix good ingredients. Also, we did not properly distribute seniors and young players. I was very immature about that. I was very sorry.
Pro Team Manager Meets with Student Athletes
After stepping down as manager of Shinhan Bank, he faced a 3-year hiatus. But he never left the court. He passed on his know-how to ordinary students who caught a basketball. Since he was not a professional or elite player, Jeong In-gyo felt more.
And on November 4, 2019, he was appointed as the coach of Soongui Girls’ High School. Soongeui Girls’ High School is a school with top-notch competitiveness among girls’ high schools. However, student athletes were student athletes. They are unfinished gemstones like professional players. Coach Jeong In-gyo also thought of that. So he focused on laying the groundwork. He cared the most about the word ‘cultivation’.
Since 2016, there has been a hiatus for 3 years.
I made a talent donation. I taught youth players near my house. I also coached elite middle and high school players. I got requests from people around me.
It was my first time teaching regular students.
Japan is doing ‘one person, one period’ (one student has to choose one sport). The sports infrastructure is very good. Personally, I thought about those things in my heart. So it was good to have time to reach out to general students.
I wanted my friends who are learning basketball to enjoy basketball more. So I tried harder. I thought that if ordinary students were interested in basketball, the popularity of professional basketball would increase.
Also, I felt that the school sports environment was difficult. The reality is that one coach usually teaches around 10 players. There is a lack of manpower to teach student athletes. When this happens, young players cannot properly learn the basics. I thought that seniors should work harder to build a better environment.
Since 2019, he has been appointed as a coach at Soongui Girls’ High School. I think the way you map was different from before.
Of course, the way you coach professional players is different from the way you coach student players. But they do have something in common. The point is that you need to thoroughly understand the basics. Also, because female high school players aim to become pros right after graduation, they need to know the training they do in pros. Leaders also need to be trained in that direction. Even if the understanding of student athletes is lower than that of professional athletes, student athletes should do such training in advance.
It is to guide student athletes. You must have thought of many things.
The infrastructure for girls’ high school basketball is even worse. The supply of players is more difficult. Still, I thought that the spirit vein should not be cut off. Also, since it is an academy sport, all players have to take classes and train. I didn’t have enough training time.
Grades are important, but career paths are determined after graduation. As I mentioned earlier, female high school players try to become pros after graduation. The difficulties that came from there were also great. However, I sent 2 of my students to the pro team, and our school won or finished runner-up despite the small number of students. I think it did a not bad job.
“Basketball is love”
Most basketball players have spent most of their lives with a basketball. Their workplace was a court, and they were evaluated (?) for their performance on the court.
The biggest meaning is the sweat shed on the coat. All the basketball players built up memories in the drops of sweat they shed. Because of this, many basketball players consider ‘basketball’ to have a special meaning. It was the same with Jeong In-gyo. 카지노
How are you doing now?
Every weekend, I taught female players who went pro. It was a skill training concept. It did so until the start of the 2022-2023 season. And since 2021, I have been serving as the welfare chairman of KBL. Although I haven’t been active much due to COVID-19, I’m trying to go out on the court often this season.
What does ‘basketball’ mean?
It’s a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bit of a bitch, but it’s love. (Laughs) Even though I didn’t have a long pro life, I received a lot of love from the fans. I am proud that I have returned the love I received from the fans to some extent. That’s why I expressed ‘basketball’ as ‘love’. Also, I think that the reason I was able to come to this point was because of the power of ‘basketball’.
Please look back on ‘Jeong In-gyo’s basketball life’.
If you look at me with the current gaze, I feel very sorry, ‘Couldn’t both the players and the coaches have done better?’ I had to be more responsible, and I had to be more desperate. It’s not just me, I think everyone living in the world will feel that way.
Will you still play basketball when you are born again?
Of course. (Laughs) It was basketball that appealed to ‘Jung In-gyo’. Because of that, I want to stand in a position where I can appeal to myself once again. If I have the same mind-view-mindset as I am now, I think I will be able to play basketball better.