“Everyone said it wouldn’t work… . Even now, when I think about it, a shudder runs through my body.”
11 years ago, there was a team that had the most dominant season in KBL history. It was Wonju Dongbu, a team that wrote a great history, such as the first wire-to-wire first ever, the most wins of 44, the first win rate of 80%, and not allowing a single loss in a row. It was Anyang KGC that proudly challenged them. The challenge that everyone said would be impossible became another piece of history.
KGC ‘Eternal Captain’ Yang Hee-jong announced his retirement from active duty on the 22nd. At the end of the 2022-23 season, he will take off his old uniform. After being selected as the 3rd overall pick in the 2007 KBL Rookie Draft, he played an active role as a one-club man and a franchise star in Anyang for over 15 years, saying goodbye at the most beautiful moment.
Heejong Yang and KGC have achieved numerous successes together. It is not an exaggeration to say that all history was written together, including winning the first championship match in the 2011-12 season, the first integrated championship in the 2016-17 season, and the first ‘Perfect 10’ victory in KBL history in the 2020-21 season.
Yang Hee-jong chose the most memorable moment ahead of his retirement as winning the 2011-12 season championship game. It meant a lot to him to be the first KBL leader, but more than anything else, he took great pride in challenging the impossible and succeeding.
Yang Hee-jong said, “There are many big games in particular this season, so every moment is memorable. It seems that there were more dramatic moments than in the usual season,” he said. There are still times when I think about it, and a shudder runs through my body.”
At that time, KGC had an overwhelming lineup by today’s standards, centered on veterans Eun Hee-seok (current Samsung coach) and Kim Seong-cheol (former DB coach), Yang Hee-jong, Kim Tae-sul, Park Chan-hee, Lee Jung-hyun, Oh Se-geun, and Chris Daniels. However, even 11 years ago, most of them were young players. Yang Hee-jong and Kim Tae-sul were recently discharged reservists, and Park Chan-hee and Lee Jung-hyun were in their second year as pros. Even Oh Se-geun was a rookie (since he was already an ace player in the national team, he was not considered a simple rookie).
On the other hand, Dongbu was already one of the teams that dominated the 2000s and even finished runners-up in the championship match in the 2010-11 season. ‘Eastern Sanseong’, which led to Kim Joo-seong – Yun Ho-young – Rod Benson, gained notoriety, and there were Park Ji-hyun – Hwang Jin-won, and Lee Kwang-jae here. It was a perfect team with both experience and skills. In fact, even KGC, which ranked second in the regular league, had nothing to say as its record against Dongbu was only 1 win and 5 losses.먹튀검증
Former DB coach Lee Sang-beom recalled 11 years ago and said, “If you think about it now, you can think that KBL’s best players gathered in one team, but back then they were really young players. It was difficult to compare it with Dongbu, where players such as Kim Joo-seong, Yun Ho-young, and Benson had already gone through all kinds of battles. In fact, it was really difficult to overcome them.”
However, KGC faced Dongbu 6 times in the championship match, and in all but 1 match, it was a close match to the extent of winning within 5 points. It was bloody battle enough to end with one possession game in 2 games and 4 games. In that way, KGC created an ‘upset series’ with a series record of 4 wins and 2 losses, winning the most dramatic championship match ever.
Yang Hee-jong took the winning shot in Game 6, which marked the end of KGC’s championship match. Throughout the series, he created a story by engaging in a war of nerves with Yun Ho-young, and in a 64-64 match, he made a wonderful jumper with 9 seconds left in the game. It was a dramatic jumper thrown after tricking Yun Ho-young, and it was also a famous scene that ended the long series with his own hands.
Yang Hee-jong said, “Everyone said no. Still, it was a time when young players put forward a challenge full of ambition, trusting the older brothers centered on coach Eun Hee-seok. That time is still the most memorable,” he said. “Even now, it was not easy for those players to meet on the same team. Even thinking about it now, it is fun and happy.”
“Maybe the reason why I keep thinking about my first win 11 years ago is because of the last shot. I was really happy at that moment,” he laughed.