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‘Passion that even a rare disease couldn’t overcome’ Keum Myung-joong Lee Jeong-ho “I bet my life on basketball”

This article was published in the March 2023 issue of Basket Korea webzine. The interview for this article was conducted on February 7, 2023 at 8:00 pm ( Link to Buy Basket Korea Webzine ).

There was a boy who followed his father to find KBL. He fell in love with the basketball player and knocked on the basketball player’s door. Coincidentally, the boy’s father was a former basketball player. Kim Il-mo conveyed his son’s intentions to the gold hit coach. The boy who fell in love with KBL entered the path of a basketball player.
This is the story of Lee Jeong-ho, a 3rd grader at Geummyeong Middle School. It was Lee Jung-ho, who already exceeded 180cm when he was in elementary school. Was it like that? Lee Jung-ho’s father also supported his son’s basketball challenge.
However, Lee Jung-ho’s start was not smooth. This is because his lack of talent and rare disease plagued Lee Jung-ho. As soon as Lee Jung-ho started playing basketball, he had to take a break for more than six months.
Even so, Lee Jeong-ho did not give up. He overcame the pain and worked two to three times harder than others. He turned into a competitive center in middle school.

Please introduce yourself first.
I am Jeongho Lee, a 3rd year student at Geummyeong Middle School. He is 195cm tall and his position is center.

How has he been lately?
In a practice match, his ankle sprained. he’s taking a break It’s not a big injury. The ligaments are slightly stretched. But if he wants to go to the boys’ sports event, he has to win the peer-review match. He is working hard with his colleagues. 

How did you start playing basketball?
I’ve grown tall since elementary school. He was over 180cm. Also, I went to see a lot of KBL games with his father. The players looked great. So he said to his father, “I want to play basketball.”
The first time I told my parents that I wanted to be a basketball player was when I was in the 5th grade of elementary school. My parents opposed it until I was in the 6th grade of elementary school, but in the end they said they would let me do what I wanted to do. You said you would watch until the third year of middle school. He said he would judge based on my skills and passion.
Also, my father played basketball until high school. He conveyed my intention to coach Kim Il-mo. Coach Il-mo Kim scouted me, and I started playing basketball in the 6th grade of elementary school.

It must have been really difficult at first.
Training was a lot harder than I thought. There was no basic prayer. Dribbling, shooting and passing were all lacking. I trained really hard.
In addition, when I was in the 6th grade of elementary school, I took a break for 6 months due to Osgood Schlatter’s disease (a disease in which the kneecap protrudes). It’s still not complete. It is said that the pain disappears only when growth is over. So I was very anxious. I started later than everyone else, and I had to work a lot harder because of my injury스포츠토토. I had to run with the pain.

Have you ever thought about quitting?
My dream was to become a basketball player, so I had a strong desire to succeed. I endured all the pain. Once started, I couldn’t stop.
In particular, running training was the hardest. Even with physical training, it was difficult (laughs). But fortunately, when I was in the 6th grade of elementary school, my performance was good. I also continued to grow taller. My parents also said, “You can watch me until middle school.”

I’m also curious about how you felt when you entered middle school.
I thought I should be more alert than when I was in elementary school. Also, coach Kim Il-mo’s leadership skills are really excellent. He followed what the coach taught him well, and his skills improved a lot. It was also great that he gained a lot of experience from first grade.

What is his playing style like?
The bottom of the goal is my activity radius. He throws an outside shot once in a while and tries to break through.

Coach Il-mo Kim praised his speed and decent dribbling ability.
I think his speed is slow (laughs). Still, thank you for the coach’s praise. He can do some dribbling, but he needs to work harder in the future.

Were you satisfied with the year 2022 of Lee Jeong-ho and Keum Myung-joong?
I reached the semifinals in the weekend league match against Wangjung and the spring league match held in Haenam. It was a meaningful season. I scored a lot of goals, but I was able to score because the hyungs supported me well.

How would you like to spend 2023?
I want to read a lot when my team is lacking, and I want to be the mood maker who energizes them during matches. 2023 is the year when I went to high school. You have to get good grades. I will give my best in both training and competition.

Who is your role model?
Choi Jun-yong (Seoul SK) is my role model. Although he is a tall player, he has good dribbling and screen skills. He also throws a good 3-pointer. He also wants to learn a wide field of view and difficult passes. He also likes flashy showmanship.

Do you have any experience of showing off showmanship like Junyong Choi?
He got a free throw opportunity against Whimoon Middle School in his freshman year. After he made the free throw, he celebrated. He was liked by those around him, but he was ashamed of himself. He became a dark history.
He thought he was cool at the time of Celebration, but when he watched the video, he didn’t like it. Even his friends made fun of him. From now on, when I make a 3-point shot, I will follow Choi Jun-yong’s celebration.

What is basketball to Jungho Lee?
Basketball is my life. I like it the most. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be successful with your favorite basketball? I think it’s okay to risk my life on basketball.

I would also like to know your future goals.
In 2023, I want to win. Afterwards, after being selected for the KBL Youth Elite Camp, I want to be selected as one of the top 5. Looking further, I want to survive in KBL. I want to grow into a competitive player in KBL.

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