Professional basketball team Busan KCC is in the midst of a move. The team has been busy preparing to leave Jeongdeon Jeonju Gymnasium and move to Sajik Gymnasium in Busan ahead of the start of the season in late October.
KCC’s move was the biggest news in the offseason basketball world. The team’s departure from its home of 22 years was highly controversial. No one is more disappointed about the move than Jeonju basketball fans. After more than 20 years of living with KCC and passionately cheering for the team, it has become difficult to watch professional basketball in Jeonju. Coach Lee Sang-min (51-photo), who returned to KCC after stepping down as Samsung’s head coach in January last year, also said he had “a lot of regrets.”
“Everyone feels the same way,” he said recently at the KCC gym in Yongin. Several players expressed their regret at leaving Jeonju, and I feel the same way. I’m just sorry for the basketball fans in Jeonju.”
Coach Lee Sang-min was the one who opened the door to KCC’s Jeonju era. He played as the starting point guard since 2001, when KCC made its home in Jeonju, and brought countless basketball fans to Jeonju Gymnasium. Lee parted ways with Jeonju when he moved to Seoul Samsung in May 2007, but he was looking forward to a reunion with the city’s basketball fans when he returned to coach KCC ahead of this season. Lee said, “I’ve been calling Jeonju Gymnasium home for a long time, and I’ve received a lot of love. My heart is heavy because I have to move to a new place.”
Lee played at Jeonju Gymnasium from his late 20s to mid-30s, leading KCC to basketball fame. However, when KCC hired Samsung Center Seo Jang-hoon, he was removed from the protected list of players, and as a result, he had to leave KCC.
“I have vivid memories of winning the 2004 championship game 안전놀이터. I will never forget the experience of parading around the city of Jeonju,” he said. “The size of Jeonju Gymnasium was small, but the passion of the fans was amazing. It was to the point where the away team players were reluctant to come to Jeonju.”
KCC, which moved to Busan, has been training in Nagoya, Japan, since the 10th. “Sajik Gymnasium in Busan is about twice as big as Jeonju Gymnasium, and you have to be good at basketball to fill that big stadium. As a coach of KCC, I will do my best to create a basketball wind in Busan.”