A foreign journalist covering foreign basketball – Korean Basketball League All-Star Game Part 2

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A basketball all-star game is the ultimate mid season reward for the top players in the league. Any true basketball fan will tell you how much of a disappointment the first three quarters (often the entire game) are, (no defense, lazy transitions, a lot of “hot dogging”) and in this case, it is no different. Where the game lacks in player motivation, it makes up in fan appreiciation. The all-star game events brings ultimate excitement to the fans. Here is the second part of all that went down during the 2013 KBL all-star game.

Third Quarter

The third quarter displays more excitement off the court than on the court. From the glamorous cheerleaders to the funky ‘making a fool out of yourself’ contests, the KBL keep the fans entertained throughout the event (my favourite was the toddler race where two parents are on the court with their toddler, one parent starts at the half court line with their toddler, while the other parent awaits at the baseline. At the sound of the whistle, the toddlers race to their mommy or daddy who is waiting for them at the baseline, cute and funny).

Korean players apply makeup on each other during an activity at the KBL all-star game.
Photo by Nick Bedard
For most of the third quarter, I go through starts and story lines with the help of my translator Jiyoung, (we spent a long time trying to figure out what the Slam Dunk Competition prize is, still no answer). A number of easy uncontested mid range jumpers and a series of wild acrobatic layups later, the third quarter finally comes to an end. With the intermission upon us, the final all-start skills challenge begins. This time three contestants from each team line up at the half court line for the half court shot showdown.
Imagine six players lined up across the half court line shooting simultaneously at the same basket for one minute. Balls are just consistently flying through the air in direction of the goal (not many went through the hoop). The winner would take home a cash prize of $1,000.
The KBL half court shot challenge during the third quarter intermission.

Photo by Nick Bedard
Prior to the start of the fourth quarter, I pack up all of my interview gear for post game interviews. I will spend the fourth quarter with court-side media for an in depth view of the rest of the game.
Fourth Quarter
The fourth quarter is one of the most intense fourth quarters that I have ever seen in an all-star game. Back and forth the teams are going toe-to-toe exchanging buckets. As I browse ‘press row’ getting different camera shots I realize that we have quite the game on our hands.
Juan Pattillo drops a fadeaway during his 4th quarter takeover.

Photo by Nick Bedard
With under a minute left to play in the game, it’s tied at 118 with the ball in the hands of Magic team’s Juan Pattillo. I run to the near baseline to try and get the best shot of what I hope to be the game-winner.
I see a perfect opening on the baseline next to the cheerleaders. As I flash my media pass to usher I get into position, Pattillo waives off a pick and calls his own number. Pattillo is in his triple threat stance with Rod Benson guarding him closely, I am in a crouching photographer position with cheerleaders cheering next to me (overcoming the distractions surrounding you is not easy in this case), he goes to make his move. A fake to the left followed by a left hand crossover to his right, I’m all set for the shot, Pattillo rises… SNAP! … SWISH!! Pattillo drains the 18-foot game winner with two seconds remaining in the game and I have what appears to be the best photo of the night.
Pattillo is mobbed by his teammates in celebration while I am having my own party reviewing this optimistic photo. I preview the photo on my camera, and it appears that just as I shot the photo, Dream team player ran right in front of my shot disruption what would have been a magnificent photo.
Juan Pattillo (hidden in front of #14) hits the game winning shot with 2 seconds remaining.
Photo by Nick Bedard
Pattillo, a rookie in this all-star game rose to the occasion. I however, was stuck without a second chance of getting that game winning shot. Pattillo is awarded the MVP of the game; I am going home with a game-wining photo of Lee Seung Joon’s behind. Rookie mistake.

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

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