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Aug 15th 2006

the class of 2003 comes to Korea

This past Sunday, along with Eric Lee we went to the Jamsil Olympic Gymnasium to see the USA basketball team play Lithuania in the World Basketball Challenge. This tournament was used as a tune up for the World Championships in Japan, it was also a great way for many korean fans to get out and see their NBA heroes up close. Being a huge basketball fan, I leapt at the chance to check things out, we bought tickets for 44,000 won (about $50) to see two games, the US vs. Lithuania and then Italy vs. Korea.

Part of our heritage note... the stadium pictured behind us is the site where the largest doping scandal in Canadian history occurred

Eighteen years later, the Olympic rings still grace the Olympic stadium in Seoul

The other great thing about going to the game was that it was played at the Korean Olympic Park. Although we were 18 years late, it was great to see the olympic stadium (pictured above) in addition to the baseball stadium and some of the walkways and signs commemorating the games.


As we followed the crowd to the Olympic arena, we noticed already the large number of foreigners and Koreans wearing NBA jerseys. We both agreed that since we had arrived this was by far the largest crowd of foreigners that we had seen.

Wherever they go in the world, the US basketball team always attracts transplanted Americans

The game was great! Some of the stars that we were able to see were Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmello Anthony. NBA enthusiasts will remember that back in 2003 these 4 guys made up the first 5 picks of the NBA draft, arguably the best draft in NBA history. 3 years later "King James", "D-Wade", "CB-4", and "Mello" were all playing together. For those of you who don't share my excitement, feel free to leave this page and go look at pictures or something. The US won the game 111-88, dominating from start to finish. The game was full of some sweet dunks that brought the crowd to their feet, but it wouldn't have taken much - halfway through the warm up the crowd was already standing, applauding the dunks from the Americans.

view the recap and video highlights of the game

We stayed for a bit of the second game between the Italians and the Koreans, hoping to see future Raptor Andrea Bargnani but unfortunately he won't be joining the Italian team until the worlds next week. Besides that the game was a real bore compared to the first one. All in all the day was awesome, the Americans won the game saving the universe and all those other big brother type things, "USA, USA, USA." One things for sure, I doubt I will ever get to see a collection of star ballers like that unless I fork over a couple hundred dollars to see an all-star game in the future.

the US coaching staff, big names such as Krzyzewski, Boeheim, and D'antoni were in the house.

above: the view from our first half seats, the arena wasn't full so we moved to better seats in the second half


left: the US team huddles before the game at centre court


below: the US team warming up at the beginning of the second half