On the 13th, I met a nice face in the 2023 Jeju Youth and Youth Club League (i-League) at the gymnasium of Ohyeon High School in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province. The main character is Jeong Rak-young.
Jeong Rak-young, a graduate of Hanyang University, was selected by Daegu Dongyang with the 15th overall pick in the 1998 rookie draft, the first draft of a Korean player in KBL. He then went through Busan KTF (now Suwon KT) and Seoul SK, playing a total of 477 games in the regular league over 11 seasons.
During his Dongyang days, he experienced the pain of 32 consecutive losses, which is said to be a legend, and he played an active role as the protagonist of the myth of the Yeosu Korea Tender semifinal. Also, among his fans, he was called ‘rock-sama’ thanks to his bright smile and kind fan service. He retired from SK at the end of the 2008-2009 season.
After his retirement, he was engaged in a job other than basketball and was forgotten among fans for a while. Jung Rak-young led the young basketball players he was coaching to participate in the Jeju i-League.
Jung Rak-young, whom I met during the competition, said, “Around 2019, we built a gym near the international school in Seogwipo and are giving lessons to international school students and children from the surrounding area. He is now more or less settled. Even though he was away from the world of basketball for a while, he had aspirations to try basketball again someday, and the opportunity came. He is having a good experience,” he said.
“There was no contact or connection with Jeju Island. I’ve been looking at the good points of Jeju Island for a long time and thought that I wanted to live there, but the opportunity came and came down. Life on land was good, but I think the comfortable and leisurely life in Jeju Island suits me better than a harsh life. When you are on Jeju Island, your happiness index naturally rises. I think I did well to settle down on Jeju Island,” he explained why he came down to Jeju Island.
Opened in 2019, Rock Basketball was a welcome youth basketball class in Seogwipo, a wasteland of basketball. ‘Youth leader’ Jeong Rak-young’s educational goal was clear. Jung Rak-young, who is constantly trying to arouse interest in basketball in children, said, “Since they are young students, rather than teaching hard and difficult skills from the beginning, we created a play-style curriculum so that they can get acquainted with basketball and become interested in basketball. She seems to have been influenced by her love of free and unconventional basketball from before. She is also conducting skill training as part of that,” she explained of her education process.
While Jeju Island still has no professional team and is far from the mainland, the range of exchanges is narrow, while the number of youth and club members who enjoy basketball is said to be increasing year by year.
He continued, “There are a lot more basketball classes and clubs in Jeju Island than I thought. The club basketball population is also increasing as time goes on. In fact, as I said in an interview before, one goal is to broaden the base of club basketball in Jeju Island. I am active in a basketball club, and at the request of the teams, I am conducting a skill training program once in a while. Of course, unlike on land, skill training in Jeju Island is still unfamiliar, so there are parts that feel awkward, but I think it will get better in the future. I want to help in a small way to increase the popularity of basketball in Jeju Island,” he said.바카라사이트
Although far from the field, he was a heavenly basketball player. Jung Rak-young said, “No matter where I was or what I was doing, basketball always followed me. Basketball seems to be my vocation. So I made up my mind to work again with basketball,” he said. “I also watch professional basketball games on TV. Not too long ago, I watched the KGC and SK championship match, and I was proud to see that the crowds were full and basketball popularity was reviving. I hope that it will not stop there and continue to be popular.”
Lastly, when I asked him about his future goals, he said, “Rather than saying grandiose goals, I believe that the academy I am running needs to go well so that the base of Jeju Island clubs mentioned above can be expanded as well as the area of basketball in Jeju Island. If you keep studying and working hard, I think you will come along well. I am also grateful to the students who are teaching me for following me well. I can’t guarantee that I will be a good teacher to students, but I want to at least tell them that I won’t be a bad teacher.”