Lee Jong-hyun maintained his number 32 thanks to his junior Seo Jung-hyun.
The 5th round of the 2022-2023 SKT A-Dot professional basketball Jeonju KCC and Changwon LG held at the Jeonju Gymnasium on the 5th. On this day, Lee Jong-hyun’s first game after transferring to KCC drew attention. Lee Jong-hyun ran for 15 minutes and 42 seconds, recording 4 points and 3 rebounds. Although he did not perform outstandingly, he showed off his presence in defense and rebounding, and contributed to KCC’s 87-64 victory.
One thing to note is Lee Jong-hyun’s uniform number. Lee Jong-hyeon, who has taken Wonju DB acting coach Kim Joo-seong as his role model since he was young, has stuck to number 32 since Whimoon Middle School. Following Gyeongbok High School and Korea University, his uniform number was always 32 on the professional stage. When he joined Hyundai Mobis in Ulsan in 2016, he gave up his number 32, which was pointed out by the late Nate Miller, to Lee Jong-hyun right before the season began.
Even at KCC, his uniform number was 32 without fail. There was a hidden story here. Originally, number 32 was the uniform number of Seo Jung-hyun, a big man who joined last season. However, Lee Jong-hyun wanted the number 32 shirt, and the club asked Seo Jeong-hyun for his understanding. Thanks to this, Lee Jong-hyun was able to continue wearing number 32.
A KCC official said, “(Lee) Jonghyun asked the club to wear number 32 without knowing anything else. So, I asked (Seo) Jung Hyun for his understanding. Jonghyun took number 32, and Jung Hyun changed his number to 77.”
After the match, Lee Jong-hyun said, “I feel sad because it is my uniform number that I have worn since I was young. He is the uniform number that has been with him through the good times and the bad times. I made a request to the club, and Jung Hyun-yi readily conceded. I’ll buy you a delicious meal next time,” expressing gratitude to Seo Jung-hyun.
For professional players, the uniform number is more like pride. Therefore, in other sports such as soccer and baseball, cases where juniors give up their uniform numbers to seniors often occur. But it’s not just a concession. The senior who received the uniform number often creates a warm feeling by giving a suitable example to the junior.
In fact, Choo Shin-soo, who joined SSG Landers after finishing his life in the major leagues in 2021, handed an expensive watch as a gift to his junior Lee Tae-yang, who gave up his uniform number 17 to himself. The watch Shin-soo Choo gave 안전놀이터 as a gift is a product of the Swiss luxury watch brand ‘Roger Dubuis’ and costs well over 20 million won.
Regarding this, Lee Jong-hyun said, “I am not a high-paid person like a baseball player (laughs). Hyeon Jeong is a junior from Korea University, and if I do better and his salary goes up, I will remember today (the 5th) and buy him a good present.”