Busan KCC forward Choi Jun-yong (29‧200.2cm) is at the center of a controversy. It was on social media. After the South Korean men’s national basketball team underperformed at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, 토토 Choi went on a rampage. He stunned fans and officials with a post on his Instagram story that appeared to snipe at head coach Chu Il-seung.
On April 4, he posted a photo of Choo. It was a close-up of Chu from a live broadcast, with a question mark at the top. There was no other explanation, but given that he had recently been openly complaining about his omission from the national team roster on his team’s YouTube channel, it was likely a sniping post. Even if it wasn’t, it’s already being taken as such.
In the end, it was a setback. Chu Il-seung’s national team has been playing so poorly at the tournament that it couldn’t get any worse. Not only did they lose to Japan, who fielded a second-tier squad, but they also hung their heads in shame in a 70-84 quarterfinal loss to China. Failing to reach the medal round for the first time in 17 years since Doha 2006 (fifth place), it didn’t end there, as the team disappointed their fans by coming from behind to lose the first game of the ranking round.
Regardless of the result, it was a poor performance. The absence of the tall forwards that the current team boasts was particularly painful. Aside from Lee Hyun-jung (23‧202cm) of Australia’s Illawarra Hawks and Yeo Jun-seok (21‧203cm) of Gonzaga University, who are struggling to make it to the NBA, it was difficult for Choo to play his style as Moon Sung-gon (30‧195.6cm) and Song Kyo-chang (27‧201.3cm), who were both ace stoppers and the nucleus of the defense, were out with injuries.
Even so, not many people expected the team to struggle this badly. Other teams didn’t participate at full strength as much as South Korea did. Add to that the fact that one of the team’s key players gave an interview in which he said that the atmosphere was “not good and cluttered,” and the question of Choo’s control of the team is on the table.
One of the players that fans missed in this situation was Choi Jun-yong. This is because he could have been a great substitute for many long forwards who were out due to injuries and other reasons. As if to prove it, there were a lot of comments from various basketball-related communities such as ‘Why didn’t he join the team’ and ‘We needed him’.
In such an atmosphere, it was better for Choi to remain silent. He had recently expressed his dissatisfaction with his selection to the national team, so it would be overpaying to go further. If he couldn’t keep his mouth shut, he needed to be more clever with his comments. ‘Thank you. Team. I’d like to be part of the rebound next time,” would have been fine.
It’s likely that there would have been positive responses, such as “It was a shame that Choi Jun-yong wasn’t there” or “I hope you get a medal in the next competition. However, with a single question mark, the fans who were already disappointed with the team’s performance added gasoline to the fire. The anger toward the national team and its head coach Chu quickly shifted to Choi Jun-yong.
Fans are raising the level of criticism by referring to Choi Jun-yong’s past bad behavior. The handshake wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t have a deeper meaning (?), such as “Don’t criticize the national team, criticize me instead. Whether you hate or love Choi Jun-yong, there is no question about his skill. He is one of the best players in Korea.
However, compared to his talent and skill, he is lacking in terms of titles and career total. There have been injuries, but there are also many cases where he has tied himself up in unnecessary controversies. This is true for everyone, but people are hard to change. This is probably true for Choi as well. I’m not suggesting that you change your personality or disposition right away.
When you’re in the public eye, sometimes it’s necessary to put on a front. If you try hard enough, you might actually change a little bit. This is what happened to soccer legend Ki Sung-yueng, who is a legend in a different sport. Choi is also approaching his 30s. It’s time to minimize your image management. Not for others, but for yourself.