Korean Basketball’s Ra Gun-ah dilemma, whether she is a domestic player or a foreigner

Will Ra Gun-ah continue to be seen in the Korean professional basketball and the Korean national team? As the four-way contract involving the KBL, his team Busan KCC, and the Korea Basketball Association ended recently, basketball fans are paying attention to his future course of action.

Ra Gun-ah, from the United States, was named Ricardo Ratliffe, and he entered the KBL as a foreign player in 2012 and made his first connection with Korea. Since then, Ra Gun-ah has grown into the league’s best foreign player by winning five titles and three MVP awards for foreign players through Ulsan Hyundai Mobis-Seoul Samsung-KCC.

Ra Gun-ah spent 12 seasons on the Korean stage, breaking numerous records, including the No. 1 overall rebound and the No. 1 most appearances and points scored in the playoffs, beating Seo Jang-hoon and Kim Joo-sung. In 2018, he acquired Korean citizenship in recognition of his special naturalization for six years and earned the Korean name Ra Gun-ah. Ra Gun-ah joined the national team under the national flag and played in two Asian Games, the FIBA Asian Cup, and the Basketball World Cup, playing as an undisputed ace.

Until now, the interests of his team, the professional basketball federation, and the basketball association have all been intricately intertwined in Ra Gun-ah’s contract for Korean stage activities. However, after the 2023-24 professional basketball championship decision, which ended in early May, all related contracts for Ra Gun-ah were terminated, leaving the future in a fog. It is necessary to reconsider Ra Gun-ah’s status, contract status, method, duration, and scale from the ground up.

Ra Gun-ah’s contract with the national team ended after the “2025 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifier” against Thailand in February and has already put down the national flag. As the contract period with KCC, a professional team, also expired, they had to sign a contract or find a new team. KBL says it will also discuss Ra Gun-ah’s issue at its board meeting in May.

When asked about the possibility of renewing his contract in February, Ra Gun-ah said, “Personally, I want to continue my relationship with Korea. But that’s not something I can decide on. It’s up to the Basketball Association and the KBL.”

In terms of skills, Ra Gun-ah is still good enough to play in both the national team and the KBL. Born in 1989, Ra Gun-ah was evaluated as having seen her skills decline slightly from her heyday when she was in her mid-30s, but she proved her strong performance by appearing to be rejuvenated in the playoffs this season.
Ra Gun-ah also performed in the “Super Team” KCC, which has national team-level colleagues such as Heo Woong, Song Kyo-chang, Choi Jun-yong and Lee Seung-hyun, and took the lead in setting the record of “winning the championship match of the fifth-place team in the regular league” for the first time in KBL history.

The problem is that even though Ra Gun-ah gained Korean nationality as a special naturalized player, she is still in an ambiguous state of being classified as a foreign player in the KBL. This was a different treatment from half-Korean (mixed blood) players such as Moon Tae-jong, Moon Tae-young, Lee Seung-joon and Jeon Tae-pung, who were naturalized before Ra Gun-ah and also played for the national team. It was also a decision that considered that if Ra Gun-ah, who had the best skills as a foreign player in his heyday, was recognized as a domestic player, the power imbalance between the team with Ra Gun-ah and other teams would become too severe.

However, many pointed out that it is a contradictory “double standard” to treat a player who gave Korean nationality and wore a national flag as a foreigner in his own league. Of course, Ra Gun-ah also agreed to hire a national team member on condition of receiving a separate allowance, but the scene revealed that she was treated only as a foreign “mercenary” of the national team using the system of naturalized players rather than recognizing Ra Gun-ah as a true Korean player.

The biggest variable in whether Ra Gun-ah will renew his contract again this time depends on whether he recognizes his status as a domestic or foreign player. The problem is that the professional team is still too good to be recognized as a domestic player, and on the contrary, it is worrisome that the decline due to his old age is too high to be classified as a foreign player.

Many basketball fans argue that given the age and contribution of Ra Gun-ah, who will turn 35 in the next season, it is okay to give her the right to play as a Korean player. In reality, however, the KBL is a league in which foreign players account for a large portion of the KBL. Expectations for Korean and foreign players are completely different.

No matter how old Ra Gun-ah was, none of the Korean players has scoring ability and control under the basket. Moreover, the fact that Ra Gun-ah’s presence will have the effect of recruiting another foreign player could shake the game of the league. On the other hand, it is uncertain whether Ra Gun-ah will be able to continue playing as one option against foreign ace players from other teams.

Also, the contract method and size will vary depending on his status. If he becomes a Korean player, chances are high that he will become a free agent. If so, his stock price could shake the game of the league by surpassing other Korean FA players and have a significant impact on the current salary cap

However, if a player becomes a foreign player, he or she has to make a special draft bid again. KBL clubs may be reluctant to recruit a decrepit player, or there may be a situation in which he has to leave Korea because he is dissatisfied with negotiations with Korean clubs or salary limits.

Even if Ra Gun-ah remains here, if she is a foreign player in the professional league, the issue of renewal and allowances with the basketball team can be complicated. First of all, in terms of purely contributing to the national basketball team, renewing contract with Ra Gun-ah is close to a gain. While naturalized players account for a very high proportion of the electricity in the world basketball, the Basketball Association has not yet clearly prepared an alternative to Ra Gun-ah.

Ra Gun-ah has also expressed several affection and responsibility for the national team, not just for money, and he is expected to be able to play for the next two to three years with his skills. Coach Ahn Joon-ho, who took the helm of the men’s national basketball team this year, gave Ra Gun-ah the captain’s armband and praised his continued skills and leadership.

BY: 메이저사이트

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