The Korea Times
KBL player, ‘too tall to play basketball’
David Simon will no longer be able to continue his basketball career in Korea for a reason he never even thought of: he is too tall for the sport here.
According to the Korean Basketball League (KBL) Tuesday, the Anyang KGC center will not be allowed to play next season after directors decided last month to limit foreign players’ height to two meters (6.56 feet).
Each team is allowed two foreign players. Under the new rule, one player should not be taller than two meters and the other must be no taller than 1.86 meters.
The rule is expected to affect several KBL players, including Simon, who stands 203 centimeters tall, Charles Rhodes of Jeonju KCC (200.1 centimeters) and Rod Benson of the Wonju Dongbu Promy (206.7 centimeters).
Simon, who made his KBL debut in 2010, is considered one of its best players. In the 2017-2018 season, he was the No. 1 scorer with an average 25.68 points per game.
The KBL believes height restrictions will encourage teams to recruit players with better speed and skills rather than “just tall ones.”
In interviews with local media outlets, KBL Commissioner Kim Young-il said KBL games had become dull in recent years because teams increasingly relied on tall, strong players. He said the restrictions would shift the recruitment focus.
The rule is part of the KBL’s desperate effort to boost its declining popularity. The number of spectators per game last season was about 2,796, a big drop from 4,372 in 2013-2014.
TV viewership has also fell to about 0.2-0.3 percent, compared with 0.8-0.9 percent for professional volleyball.
Many fans believe the height restrictions will only make the league look silly and do little to boost its popularity. They are also concerned that the rule will weaken the competitiveness of Korean players on the world stage, where there is no such rule.
Hundreds of people have urged Cheong Wa Dae to resolve the issue.
“Kicking out the basketball players for just being tall? That is absurd,” a petitioner wrote. “The KBL commissioner has ignored the voices of most officials and fans. I cannot stand his leadership anymore.”