“You’ve got five more years to run…. It’s a shame.”
On the 24th of this month, Kim Dong-wook, a “white elephant” who spent 19 years in the KBL, announced his retirement.
Kim Dong-wook was drafted by Samsung with the 7th pick in the second round of the 2005 KBL Rookie Draft, and has since played for three teams, starting with Samsung, then Orion, Samsung, and KT.
Born in 1981, he could have retired a long time ago. He’s even older than LeBron James, who has been at the center of recent retirement speculation. However, it’s hard not to be sad to see him go, as he’s still one of the most intelligent players on the court.
The retirement of Kim Dong-wook saddened many people, including national team coach Chu Il-seung, who even asked, “Where is (Kim) going?” when he wasn’t sure of his future. He was also the most disappointed when Kim announced his retirement.
Chu said, “He should have played for five more years…. It’s a shame because he’s still good.”
No one knows Kim Dong-wook’s value more than Chu. He recognized his skills and senses enough to trade Kim to Samsung for Kim Dong-wook. Of course, at the time, Kim was not in his prime and injuries were frequent, although he still had his passing touch, but he was still Kim, and in that sense, the trade was quite remarkable.
“Samsung didn’t want to give us Dong-wook. Dong-wook was the best card they could get in exchange for Kim Seung-hyun. At the end, Samsung made a concession and we were able to get him.” “Actually, the rumors about Dong-wook were not good. There was an evaluation that he was lazy, but when I worked with him, it wasn’t like that again,” he said.
He continued, “He did a good job. He was very family-oriented and had good basketball sense. We had few guards on our team, so I even asked him to play guard, and he organized it well. I think he was at the peak of his game when he was with me.”
Indeed, Chu and Dong-wook led the Orions to the title in 2015-16, beating the late Andre Emmett and Ha Seung-jin’s KCC in Jeonju. It was a triumphant return to the top for a franchise that had been on a downward spiral since its heyday in the early 2000s.
Lee Seung-hyun was the MVP of the final, but Kim Dong-wook was also considered the MVP. Coach Choo said, “Dong-wook played a huge role in our victory. You might think he’s just a good offensive player, but he also did a great job defending Emmett and Ha Seung-jin,” he recalled.
Dong-wook also looks back on his time with the Orions under Choo as one of his shining moments. “Playing with (Chris) Williams, if I was playing 70 basketball, I could play 100 basketball. I was a starter for about three or four years and we won a championship, so I was happy that my basketball was working out like this,” he said. “I was able to fit in and play the kind of forward game that coach (Chu Il-seung) likes to play. It was the first championship for the coach and the first championship for me as a main player, so I think the coach is watching me affectionately,” he laughed. 메이저사이트
In his long coaching career, Chu counts Kim Dong-wook among his top five students. “He was a very mature kid. He was very good at giving advice to his juniors, especially as a locker room leader. There were rumors and misunderstandings in the past that even I looked at with tinted glasses. But when I lived with him, I didn’t have any. He’s a great kid.”
“If I had a player like Dong Wook now in his prime, I would unconditionally take him to the national team,” Chu said, showing his love for his protégé to the end.