Some players are trying to shrink to keep their jobs.
Some foreign-born players in the Korean Basketball League are going to be looking for new jobs soon—because they’re too tall.
South Korea’s top league has instituted a new rule setting limits on the height of import players. The league already had a rule limiting teams to two foreign-born players, but there are height restrictions for foreigners beginning next season. One player must be no taller than 200 cm (6'6 3/4") and the other has to be under 186 cm (6'1 1/4"), according to the Yonhap news agency.
This is an issue for 35-year-old American center David Simon, who has spent several seasons in Korea and led the league with 25.7 points per game this year. He’s 202 cm tall.
“Just to be that close and not be able to make it kind of stinks,” Simon told the BBC. “I wasn’t one of the tallest players, I wasn’t even the tallest player on my own team. Personally, I don’t really understand it, just from the fact that there are only two or three of us that were even over the limit and two of us are right there [against the limit]. The tallest guy, Rod Benson, he was well over the limit [at 206 cm], but besides that, most of the guys there aren’t super small or there isn’t that much difference in their skills.”
The league thinks the new rule will speed up the game at a time when TV ratings are falling well behind those of pro volleyball, the Korea Times reports. (The league has long had a height limit, but 200 cm the shortest ever.)
The measurement process was reportedly pretty intense, too. Some teams told their tall players to jog and hold heavy weights before the official measurement, according to Yonhap. Charles Rhodes, a 32-year-old who played in college at Mississippi State, was registered at 200.1 cm but passed the rigorous 10-minute measurement process at a height of 199.2 cm.
The lesson here is that everyone should be like Kevin Durant—make your height on the roster shorter than you actually are.