‘A sharp belly-bellied’. I still like this nickname given to me by Choi Hwa-gyeong, a basketball reporter for the Dong-A Ilbo, when I was active as an unemployed basketball player in the early 1980s, and even in my late 60s, I am swinging around the court like an active player. It is said that the nickname was created when a player with a bulging stomach at a basketball party at the time saw him run through the full game in the first half and fans gave him laughter and love. His Achilles tendon was torn and his ribs were fractured dozens of times, but he still loves basketball and never leaves the court.
Yoon Jin-goo (66), vice president of the KBL Family, whom we met on the 19th at a restaurant specializing in roast pork in Gyeongdong Market in Jegi-dong, shows passion and tenacity comparable to that of an active player even after 52 years of basketball life. In his long life stage, he deserves to change his game several times, but he never left basketball standing still. Even after retiring as an unemployed player, he continued to play basketball as his life sports and reached the present.
He usually speaks very quickly and has a straightforward personality. Whether it’s a senior or a junior, he doesn’t keep things he doesn’t like in his heart, and pours them out right away with a rapid-fire tone. That’s why there are a lot of ‘likes and dislikes’ among basketball seniors and juniors. Those who like it say that it is frank and plain, and those who don’t like it say that it is too talkative and put a distance.
Lim Jeong-myung, a former national basketball player who has been playing against him on the court for a long time, is the closest to him. Chairman Lim Jeong-myeong, who will lead the KBL Family, a friendly gathering of officials who have been active in Korean professional basketball since this year, said, “Jin-goo is straightforward. When he thinks he’s right, he pushes through. Because of this, he is said to be stubborn, but he is not very picky.”
Agricultural life farming (籠生籠死), live by basketball and die by basketball
His favorite saying is ‘live by basketball and die by basketball’. It’s not an accurate record, but I heard that there was a basketball player who died during a game in American basketball, and I think he lived the most wonderful basketball life. When I was in the second year of Dongdaemun Middle School, the school basketball coach at the time recommended basketball to me because of my height (1m79). Having played as a center at Baejae High School, Chung-Ang University, and Bank of Korea, he is 1m92 tall and weighs 95kg. However, he still shows a performance that is never inferior to sports players in their 50s. leading center. He leads the overall play of the players from the center under the goal. Although his backcourt, running, quickness and stamina are somewhat lacking, he does not fall out of the starting lineup in most games.
Because of this, many places call him. He started playing as a member of the ‘Blue Bird Basketball Team’ in the first half of 2000 as a sports player for life, and participated in international sports basketball competitions in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines as well as domestically. He has also won MVP several times during that time. Under the name of ‘Father’s Basketball Team’, the members of the life sports basketball team are diverse, such as doctors, international insurance experts, and club coaches, but he is a unique existence as he has walked the same path as a player. He teamed up with Han Ki-beom of the Kia Basketball Team, which was the longest new center in Korea, to participate in the Southeast Asian tournament.
Yun Jin-goo said, “When I run on the court, I can forget all my thoughts. It’s good to just look at one ball, run hard and sweat. After the game, we encourage each other, have beer after-party, and have human exchanges,” he said. “I am very grateful that basketball has supported me to this day.”
‘ A string of hope even in poverty’
In the late 1990s, he was appointed as the manager of the Andong branch of the Bank of Korea. It has been nearly 30 years since he brought his elderly mother, Mrs. Park Jeong-hee (who passed away in 2013), who had lived a poor life for the rest of her life, to the official residence in Andong. I still remember it vividly. After finishing his career as a player at the Bank of Korea in 1988, he surprised people around him by passing the bank agent exam three years later. Recognized for his activeness and concentration as a basketball player at the bank, and having passed the proxy test, he served as the manager of the Andong branch, then applied for a resignation in 1998 and left the Bank of Korea after receiving a retirement of 260 million won.
In order to raise her only son properly, the single mother lived a difficult life, moving from one room to another in Seongnam, an evicted village in Cheonggyecheon, and a single room in Haebangchon, Huam-dong. It is said that he was raised by ‘beating of love’ in order not to hear from those around him that he was a child without a father.
He said that he committed a serious sin against his mother twice while playing basketball. Once, when he was a player at Chung-Ang University, a fight broke out and he was taken to the police station, and his mother made him run. The second is the stadium violence case of the National Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament in December 1982 for the Presidential Cup. As a member of the Bank of Korea, he severely punched Lim Ki-yeol in the face twice while fighting for a rebound in a game against IBK, causing a two-week injury and turning the stadium into a mess. At the time, it was not long after the Chun Doo-hwan administration was launched, and it was a time when he ruled with ‘one hundred rules’ to establish order in the stadium ahead of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games and 1988 Seoul Olympics. He was released not long after being arrested for violent acts through active lifesaving campaigns in the basketball world and a personal apology. After receiving a suspension from the Korea Basketball Association and going through a period of self-reflection, he resumed his career as a player.
He is still very grateful for the fact that he received a scholarship while playing basketball, went to school, and even had the best job. He said, “Many people were poor in our time, but my family really had nothing. During my adolescence, I could have become dissatisfied with society with an extreme sense of rebellion and fall into a bad path, but fortunately, while playing basketball, I went to school normally and got the best job at the Bank of Korea.”스포츠토토
He said that when he entered Chung-Ang University, he felt the warm taste of society when coach Jeong Bong-seop (former president of the College Basketball League) first matched him with a suit at the tailor shop in front of the school. Also, around the time of his senior year of college, he had a tug-of-war between Samsung and the Bank of Korea over an unemployment draft. Eventually, he chose the Bank of Korea, and after 20 years of stable work life, he got married and was able to have a family.
Life of basketball started again
He recently quit the basketball team at Seoul Sahmyook Middle School, where he served as an after-school instructor for the past 10 years. Because he wanted to live his life freely. He said, “I thought it was important to do what I wanted because I was getting older. I am the happiest when I am playing basketball. Colleagues and juniors around me find it difficult to go out on the court due to injuries sustained while playing, but I am still vivid. There is no big pain anywhere. So there is never a shortage even if you play against young sports players for life. I think the most desirable life is to do sports you like, get along with good people, and eat delicious food.”
He has one son and one daughter, and he has made her daughter a basketball player after him. His daughter is Yoon Seo-young. After going through Eunkwang Girls’ Middle School and Suwon University, she became a professional athlete and obtained a nurse’s license and is currently working as a nurse.