Basketball, volleyball all-stars woo audiencesBasketball and volleyball are the main winter sports. Although basketball was introduced to Korean fans a lot earlier than volleyball, when it comes to crowd attendance and broadcasting ratings, they are rivals. But when the two all-star games were scheduled on the same day, it came down to a matter of sheer entertainment value.
For the first time, the pro basketball all-star game was held in Busan, also known as “Baseball City.”
The game was a big success, with a total attendance at Sajik Arena of 12,218. Standing seats were sold after the regular seats were sold out. The number in attendance was double the number of the all-star volleyball game.
For this year’s all-star game, senior and junior teams were divided based on the years in which players were born. Michael Craig of the Seoul Samsung Thunders added more interest to the game as he gave an outstanding dunk performance during the dunk contest.
Oh Se-keun of Anyang KGC was the MVP, scoring 29 points.
“I just didn’t want to lose against the junior team,” Oh said. The senior team won the game 150-126.
Players playing in the all-star game rode the same KTX train as fans traveling down to watch them play.
“All-star volleyball is more popular because female players play in it,” Oh said. “But this year, I think we were as popular as the volleyball all-star game.”
This year marked the 12th professional volleyball all-star game.
There was total attendance of 5,033 people at the Yu Gwan-sun Gym in Cheonan, South Chungcheong. The court was half the size of a basketball all-star court, as the gym itself was smaller, which made the fans feel like they were attending a prestigious private event.
“I feel like a VIP because the tickets were so hard to get,” said one fan who waited since 7 a.m. to buy a ticket. Unlike other sports, volleyball all-star teams include both men and women.
Moon Sung-min of Cheonan Hyundai Capital won the spike king contest with a record speed of 123 kilometers per hour (76 miles per hour).
Ceremonies are the highlight of the all-star game. Players such as Kim Hee-jin of the Hwaseong IBK Altos and Seo Jae-duck of the Suwon KEPCO Vixtorm gave amusing performances, but the Suwon KEPCO Vixtorm’s Jeon Kwang-in won the award for best ceremony.
“I surfed through the internet a lot looking for ceremonial dances,” Jeon said. “I think volleyball all-star is more fun to watch than the basketball all-star game.”
BY KIM WON, PARK SO-YOUNG [email@example.com]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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