A day in the life of a foreign journalist covering foreign basketball

There is no bigger event during a basketball season than the All-Star game.

In South Korea, the KBL is no exception to the precedent of the All-Star game. The extensive publicity starts months before the game. KBL front office officials must get to the drawing board early to make this year’s event innovating and approving as possible.

Social media plays a huge role in allowing the fans to take part in the festivities. The KBL grants the fans permission to choose the starting five players on each All-Star team while the KBL coaches will get together and choose the deserving reserve players.

The All-Star game is a one day jam-packed event drawing a lot of excitement to the fans. From a ‘high jump kissing’ contest to the fan favourite slam dunk competition, the KBL All-Star game kept the South Korean basketball followers on the edge of their seats.

The basketball Buddha was granted media access to the game, here is how the day went down.

Hello Jamsil, Seoul
Korean members get their notes together prior to tip off of the 2013 KBL All Star game.

Photo by Nick Bedard

Upon arrival at Seoul’s Jamsil Gymnasium (the host arena of the All-Star game), meet with KBL media coordinator Yoomie Bae where she led me and my translator Jiyoung to the arena’s media room. I was awarded my media pass and escorted to the media section of the arena.

The media had its own small section in the lower bowl at the corner of the arena. Yoomie informed me of the KBL wireless password and wished me luck. I was all set.

There is about thirty minutes until the opening tip-off. I decide to head down to the concession stand to fuel up with a snickers and a pack of gum for the interview part of the day (nobody likes bad breath during interviews).
Player intros
Rod Benson (above right) is escorted to mid-court by a KBL cheerleader.
Photo by Nick Bedard
Cue the k-pop music blasting through base pumping speakers, the flashing strobe lights, and the show is about to start.
A podium is placed in the middle of the court where one player from each team bench gets introduced simultaneously. The player intros were capped off by the funky moves of Rod Benson as he broke into what seemed to be a choreographed k-pop dance.
Once the players are introduced, I follow the 5 thousand Koreans in the crowd as they rise to their feet for the signing of the national anthem.
The media is all set. The cameras are rolling. Tip-off right after these messages…
1st Quarter

The first quarter of an All-Star game is always very awkward. With no real game plan, players use the first quarter to ‘get a feel for the game’. Players will take bad shots to get the nervous jitters out.

It’s a perfect time for an expedition around the arena to get different camera shots. The difficult part about being a blogger is you really have to multitask. Today I am a reporter and photographer all in one. Taking notes while taking photos is a difficult task. Dammit, I just missed that ‘off the backboard alley-oop’. Focus!

he first quarter comes to an end and while there are some exciting plays, you can really tell that nobody wants to get injured. There is absolutely no defense.

The first quarter comes to an end. I have now returned to the media section writing down a short summary of the quarter. During the intermission, the speed challenge is getting all set.

The speed challenge is simple, dribble the basketball from one end to the other, make a layup, grab the next ball, dribble back to the other end and make another layup. The quickest time takes the prize.

Thanks to my translator, I was able to gather the information that the winner finished the challenge in 10.5 seconds.

2nd Quarter
Tae Jong Moon elevates for a jump shot for the Magic team.

Photo by Nick Bedard

The second quarter brings the same level of play as the first quarter, back and forth with no defense. The import players are throwing down big dunks while the Korean players get fancy with acrobatic layups.

I browse the baseline to try and get more action photos. Being the only foreign journalist, I get some weird (expected) looks from staff members and other journalist but we are all here for the same reason. For the most part, they (staff members and Korean media) were very kind, and very busy.

Everyone really can’t wait for this quarter to be over. At the end of this quarter is what some see as the highlight of the day. Halftime brings to center stage the top dunkers in the slam dunk competition.

Slama Jama – The Slam Dunk Competition
Before the slam dunk competition begins I asked last year’s slam dunk competition winner Rod Benson if he has any tricks up his sleeve for the dunk comp, “I didn’t really practice anything, I’m just going to freestyle it,” says Benson.
Here are some highlights of the 2013 KBL slam dunk competition. enjoy.
Juan Pattillo was awarded the winner of the 2013 KBL Slam Dunk competition.
The second part of the ‘A day in the life of a foreign journalist covering foreign basketball’ to come in the next post of the Basketball Buddha…
Here are some highlights of the 2013 KBL slam dunk competition. enjoy.

Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of Basketballbuddha.com.

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