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Behind the Scenes of a Basketball Team
Written by Sewon Han | Published. 2020.02.17 11:05 | Count : 1204

The Korea Basketball League season kicked off in October last year and is now at its peak. There are 10 professional basketball teams in the league, and each one has a team of people responsible for supporting, managing, and operating it. I met with Bobby Shin, marketing manager of the KT Sonicboom basketball club, to find out what goes on behind the scenes in terms of the management of a professional basketball team.

[The author interviewing Bobby Shin / Photo Credit: Sewon Han]

The management team is responsible for the overall operation of the team, which includes marketing, promotion, management, maintenance, and international relations. The goal of the marketing and promotion personnel is to make the team profitable, and their work involves the sale of tickets and goods through events and promotions, while the management staff is responsible for actually managing the players during both the basketball season and the off-season. The workers in the International Relations Department not only recruit import players but also handle interpretation for them. They are also responsible for helping the import players get settled in Korea.

The main role of sports team management is to “make the players shine,” which is possible only when the players are in perfect physical and mental condition and thus able to perform well on the court. The management makes sure that the players practice, train, and play under the best possible conditions, which takes a lot of effort and know-how to achieve. During the basketball season, the management staff is with the players from morning till night, making sure that the players arrive at the venue an hour and a half before each game. On days when there is no game, the staff stays with the players as they train and practice to observe and check if any players require assistance or medical care. They also have to be ready to handle any unexpected situations. Shin said that such situations do occur, and that he is sometimes disheartened by them, but any negativity he may feel disappears when the players perform well and the fans look happy. “This is the life of a basketball team’s management staff,” he added.

[KT Sonicboom training session / Photo Credit: Sewon Han]

Once the basketball season is over, the Korea Basketball League forbids group training for 60 days starting from the day after each team’s last game, be it the regular season or postseason. Shin said that it is during this60-daybreak from group training that the management takes a vacation. After getting back from vacation, the staff goes back to work. Some start preparing to recruit import players, while others receive physiotherapy training or participate in physical rehabilitation conferences, given the importance of helping players train and stay in top physical condition. Another important task of the management team is to organize training sessions overseas. They make reservations for accommodations, airline tickets, restaurants, competing teams, and so on.

I wanted to know more about the difficulties of managing a professional basketball team. An obstacle for basketball teams in Korea is that, since they do not have their own arenas, they have to rent arenas, and there are limits on what they can do there. However, there are moments when Shin feels rewarded, such as when the number of spectators at their games increases. He said that during a game he always faces the spectators and not the court, because he needs to know whether the seats are full and, if not, find out why. One of his most memorable moments was witnessing an injured player go through surgery and rehabilitation and finally get back on the court.

[KT Sonicboom training session / Photo Credit: Sewon Han]

The management staff and players rely on each other and work together as one team, with the staff serving as the engine that drives the team. While the players sweat on the court, the management staff sweats off the court to make the players shine.

Sewon Han
Shepherd International Education

Sewon Han  student_reporter@dherald.com

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