Obscure rule bans American-born player from playing In Korea
Players are used to hearing they’re too short to play basketball; just ask people like Isaiah Thomas, Muggsy Bogues and Spud Webb.
But too tall?
The Korean Basketball League has come up with a new rule that puts a height restriction on foreign-born players.
Players born outside of South Korea can be no taller than 6 feet 6.
That means American-born David Simon, a center for Anyang KGC, won’t be able to play next year. He stands 6 feet 7.
Too tall to play basketball? David Simon is over the height requirement in Korean Basketball League. https://t.co/6limz6MXB5 #davidsimon #KBL #tootall
— Slipp-Nott (@slippnott) April 6, 2018
The Guardian reported that the new rule is designed to spark flagging interest in the league. League officials believe the game has become too slow and boring with tall players, so they are looking to recruit smaller, more skillful players in an effort to make it more exciting.
Teams can only have two foreign-born players. Under new league rules, one must be shorter than 6 feet 7 and the other no taller than 6 feet 1.
The tallest player in the league is 7 feet 4, but he is Korean, so he can still play.
“Personally, I don’t really understand it,” Simon said via The Guardian. “Just from the fact that there are only two or three of us that were even over the limit, and then two of us are right there. The tallest guy, Rod Benson [of Wonju Dongbu Promy], he was well over the limit, but besides that, most of the guys there aren’t super small, or there isn’t that much a difference in their skills.”
The aforementioned Benson, who played in the NBA D league before moving to the KBL in 2010, stands 6 feet 10.
Simon, who graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2005, led the league in scoring last season, averaging 26.1 points per game.
Our guy David Simon is too much of a beast for his league in Korea! One of the best to ever wear a @FortWayneMBB jersey! 35 and still playing at a high level. https://t.co/X2OAlMBmVp
— Ben Botts (@BenBottsBSU) April 5, 2018
“I was a bit upset,” he said. “To be that close and not to make it, it kind of stinks. It doesn’t look like I’ll be going back there to play unless they change the rules again.”
Simon tried out for the Timberwolves and the Nets out of college, but didn’t stick with either team. After that he played professionally in Europe before joining the KBL in 2010.
This is his second, and likely last, stint in the KBL.
The 35-year-old said he will look for a new place to play next year.
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