As it is the most spectacular stage, many dazzling records and scenes were made in the championship final. In particular, the fighting spirit shown by ‘Basketball President’ Heo Jae is still considered a famous scene among basketball fans. Where there is light, there is also shadow. There were foreign players who were investigated by the police but were not known during the series, and there were players who missed winning every time they reached the finals.
※This article was published in the May issue of Jump Ball, a basketball magazine.
‘Heo Jae, was the injury a feigned illness?’
The 1997-1998 season finals were the first series in which Game 7 was held after the launch of KBL. Daejeon Hyundai won 101-90 in the 7th game, achieving their first championship. The Busan-Kia Dynasty, which achieved 5 consecutive wins in the basketball festival during unemployment and a combined championship in the first season of KBL, came to an end, but Heo Jae’s final final as a member of Kia was more dazzling than ever. Heo Jae started all 7 games, and only played 36 minutes and 48 seconds in the 5th game, but played full-time in the other 6 games. He averaged 23 points, 3.6 3-pointers, 4.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 3.6 steals, and he made the modern era cool.
It was a fighting spirit that he showed with injuries all over his body. Heo Jae suffered an injury that fractured the backbone of his right hand in the quarterfinal playoff against Gyeongnam LG. The injury was so serious that Kia coach Choi In-seon envisioned a final without Heo Jae, but Heo Jae wore a bandage and went ahead. As the trade was scheduled after the series was over, it was a determination to play the last game without regret in Kia, which had spent its heyday. Heo Jae also suffered injuries to his ankle and thigh as the series continued, and during the game, his eyebrow area was torn from being hit by Johnny McDowell’s elbow. 토스카지노
Nevertheless, after Heo Jae finished the hemostasis, he went on the court and led the team to victory. There was even a headline in the newspaper, “Heo Jae, was your injury a feigned illness?” Although Kia finished runner-up, Heo Jae received 19 out of 37 press votes and was selected as the MVP of the playoffs. It is an unprecedented record that a player from the runner-up team wins the playoff MVP.
There were several factors that caused Kia to finish runner-up despite Heo Jae’s fighting spirit, but Justin Phoenix’s sudden sabotage was also indispensable. Phoenix, which played without trouble until the semifinals, only played in 5 of the 7 finals, and even digested only 12 minutes and 5 seconds on average (the foreign player system at the time was 2 with 2 players). Kia coach Choi In-seon said, “The official reason at the time was ‘calf injury’, but before the championship game, they suddenly asked for a renewal contract. He said it was a request he couldn’t fulfill, and he was rotten since he slowed down from then on. If Phoenix had played five more minutes, it would have been a winning series.”