Han Chae-jin, the eldest sister who became the ‘Bride of May’, smiles and says goodbye to 21 years of history

Born on March 13, 1984. The eldest sister of WKBL who is full of bullshit.

As for the approximate condition, it is not strange to bring up the story of retirement, but it was awkward because he was Han Chae-jin. It has been a long time since he has been called an old man beyond a veteran, but his appearance on the court is no different from other players. To him, who seems to be going backwards in time, the question of “Is there any physical problem?” was a no-brainer.

Even in the 2022-2023 season, he was not much different from before. So the announcement of his transfer is sudden. For 21 years since January 2003, he has always existed in Korean women’s basketball, but he is no longer with us from next season.

Decided to break up with basketball
How much time does a player spend on the court with all his might? In general, if you digest an average of 30 minutes or more out of 40 minutes of playtime, you are classified as a player who runs a lot of time.

A total of 14 players have played more than 30 minutes on average in WKBL this season. Forty-year-old Han Chae-jin is not included here. He played 29 games this season, averaging 26 minutes and 52 seconds. This is a record for the top 20 overall.

But what is surprising is that Han Chae-jin’s average playing time is less than 30 minutes for the first time in 14 years since the 2008-2009 season. Han Chae-jin played an average of more than 30 minutes for 13 consecutive seasons. He played an average of more than 35 minutes over the three seasons before this season at Shinhan Bank, where he returned after surpassing his mid-30s.

The biggest reason players who have played their part in the team choose to retire is that they can no longer play as well as before. The decline in physical strength due to age affects one’s skills and leads to sadness at not being able to show one’s former self any more. However, Han Chae-jin did not show such an appearance.

He obviously had a mention of retirement after every season. Since he was a not small age, he always followed the question of ‘will he continue his career as a player’. However, it only became an issue for a moment, and Han Chae-jin’s name was always in WKBL’s player contract press release, and he returned to the court without incident.

Just as there are blue Saturdays and red Sundays after weekdays in a calendar full of schedules, the retirement that appeared with the word ‘maybe’ was like that blue or red color to Han Chae-jin, and after that period, the same black season as if it was like that when. It was repeated. It was like that until last year.

“Physically, it’s not a problem to be honest. I haven’t had major surgery or been sick, so I don’t have a problem playing games. If I keep preparing, I think I can play 20 minutes per game next year. But mentally exhausted I think it’s like I’m going through an off-season myself and then another season… So it’s not like I just have to play basketball by myself. I got a thought.”

The reason for his retirement was clear.

“I had that thought before the season. What I didn’t say in advance, I think I kept watching myself throughout the season. I thought, “Can we do more?”… Also, the kids listen very well and are bright, so there are a lot of good things we do together. lost.”

“Honestly, I don’t think there’s any reason to say, ‘This is why I have to retire’. I keep asking ‘why’, so I have to tell you the reason for my decision, so I’m saying this. I think it’s just a flow. I’m 40 years old. It’s a reason enough to finish ”. I’ve already been married for a long time. I’ve been married. It’s an inflection point in my life. Actually, I didn’t think about marriage until now. Now that I’m married, there are things I have to do as a wife. ..

With a great record in front…
Han Chae-jin, who joined the pro in the 2003 WKBL Freshman Selection Tournament with the 5th overall ranking in the 1st round, has played 24 seasons for 21 years. He played 597 games, and was on the court for a total of 17240 minutes and 53 seconds. It is a history corresponding to the 2nd and 5th place in WKBL, respectively. And with just one more season to play, he’ll become WKBL’s all-time No. 1 in the category.

In particular, his all-time record for the most matches is likely to become an immortal record. Currently, Woori Bank’s coach Lim Young-hee is ranked first in this category with 600 games. If Han Chae-jin plays three more games, he will tie. Currently, one WKBL season is 30 games. It is a record that a young player who has just graduated from high school and jumped into the professional world can play without missing a single game for 20 years. In fact, it is difficult to find a player who can break through 600 games in the future.

It can be said that the goal of a player’s life is not to achieve records, but on the contrary, records are proof that a player was in this league. It is all the more so if it is a great record that can remain as history.

Shinhan Bank also regretted this. Shinhan Bank, which wanted to catch Han Chae-jin, did not have to train as fiercely as before, and suggested that he retire after achieving the record for the most games in the next season. It was Han Chae-jin who refused.

“Who wouldn’t want to set a record that can remain for a long time. It would be nice to leave at least one of those things. But to do that, I have to train and prepare the same way through the season. I can see how much the players sweat in the off-season to run 1 minute and 1 second. You know right? I don’t think I’m taking that time for the record without trying the same. Fans also liked me on the court as I continued to play as I did when I was young, and they probably didn’t want me to fill up the number of games meaninglessly. .It only takes 3-4 games… Of course it’s a pity. Wouldn’t it be me?

Thus, the 2022-2023 season became the last page of Han Chae-jin’s career. It’s not that she didn’t dream of an ending as beautiful as winning and retiring, but it was a worthy and unique ending.

On March 13, the playoff game between Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank was held at Dowon Gymnasium in Incheon. Shinhan Bank, which was dragged from the beginning, eventually failed to surpass Woori Bank’s momentum.

20.9 seconds before the end, Choi Yi-saem’s 3-point shot made the score 55-70. On the Shinhan Bank bench, Han Chae-jin was prepared. He couldn’t let the final moments of his playing career be spent on his bench.

Woori Bank also responded. Woori Bank coach Seong-Woo Lee ordered the players to step back after Chae-Jin Han caught the ball. Coach Seong-Woo Seong-Woo, who knows all too well why Chae-Jin Han entered the court when the match was decided, applauded him generously at the end.

Sonia Kim, who couldn’t judge the situation, made a 3-point shot as soon as the Woori Bank defense backed away. Then Woori Bank gave the ball back to Han Chae-jin. Park Hye-jin added a turnover and put the ball right in front of Han Chae-jin, providing a shot opportunity. When the shot failed, Kim Dan-bi, who grabbed the rebound, passed it to Han Chae-jin once again. One after another, the opposing players threw the ball into Han Chae-jin. In the end, Han Chae-jin’s last shot failed to cut the rim. But it was a respect and consideration that had never existed in WKBL playoff history, and a tribute to a player who finished his career.

“I cried a lot. I just burst into tears. The camera didn’t catch me, so I didn’t know I was crying, but I was crying from the bench. I think there was a , but he said “leave it” and “leave it as it is.” (Kim) Sonia didn’t understand the situation, so she made a 3-point shot, but (Park) Hye-jin gave it to me, and since the shot didn’t go in, (Kim) Sonia didn’t understand the situation. )Danbi caught it and gave it to me…I wish I had put it in, but I was in a situation where I couldn’t put it in. I couldn’t see properly because of the tears. I also thank coach Seong-Woo Seong-Woo and Coach Joo-Won Jeon. It’s important for players to learn when they’re young. It’s the same in the pros. Koo. I think what I have been able to do so far is because coach Wie, who was my first professional coach, taught me well.”

“I was a lucky player. I got a lot of mourning awards and a lot of awards. I got 3-pointers, 2-pointers, and steals. In addition to records, I got two exemplary awards. Jokingly, he said that he seems to have received everything except rebounds. I think I was happy enough as a player.”

Han Chae-jin won the 3-point award twice, the 3-point field goal award twice, the 2-point field goal award once, the free throw award once, the Steel award twice, the Outstanding Defensive Player award once, the Exemplary Award twice, and the Special Award.

Han Chae-jin, who joined Hyundai Hyperion, the predecessor of Shinhan Bank in 21, which had endured fiercely, played an active role at Shinhan Bank for six years until the 2007-2008 season. He played 122 games. However, the place where Han Chae-jin’s name left a more impressive impression was KDB Life Insurance (Kumho Life Insurance).

Han Chae-jin, who rose to the starting lineup at the same time as the transfer, took her place as the main axis of the team that harassed her parents’ team, which was called ‘Real Shinhan Bank’ at the time. He teamed up with Lee Kyung-eun, Kim Bo-mi, Shin Jeong-ja, Cho Eun-joo, Jeong Mi-ran, and Kwak Ju-young and stormed the court furiously.

However, the history of KDB Life did not have a happy ending. In the end, he couldn’t get past Shinhan Bank. KDB Life Insurance, which emerged as a powerful second player in the era of ‘Real Shinhan Bank’, collapsed faster than Shinhan Bank from the time Shinhan Bank handed over its hegemony to Woori Bank. Since the 2012-13 season, he has not made the playoffs even once, ending his history.

“I think I learned quickly that not everything can be done by being greedy. Even when I won the 3-point shot award, I didn’t get it because I was greedy to receive it. In that respect, (Kim) Bomi (WKBL Game Operations Manager) had the best retirement, but I think I also had a good retirement. The day I played the last match was my birthday, and our team as well as the opposing team’s manager were so happy. You’ve been considerate. No one will retire like me.”

However, Han Chae-jin’s basketball life was not smooth. In his own prime, his team had its darkest days. Due to unsatisfactory results, there were many rumors following his team. In addition, KDB Life Insurance, which lost the motivation to run the team at some point, continued with disloyalty that lost the qualifications to run a professional team, and then organized the basketball team as if running away at night without properly selling the team. Guri City, the hometown, also did not fall behind KDB Life Insurance in being irresponsible.

“Honestly, I don’t remember that time well. I think it was just difficult. There was a lot of pressure even when I didn’t get results.

As the team failed to take over and the federation consignment operation was decided, unprecedented austerity began. Lee Kyung-eun, who led the team together, left this team. Some said that they abandoned their difficult colleagues and found their own way to live, but at the time of leading the FA contract, WKBL tried to sell high-priced players as much as possible to secure team operating expenses. Lee Kyung-eun was even told that the team could be run only if he left the team.

Fortunately, the worst times didn’t last long. Within a year, BNK took over the team. However, Han Chae-jin left the team during this process.

“I was really happy that I was over a difficult period. But at the first meeting, I was notified that I would not be with you. He said that if I wanted to continue my career, I would look for another team. I thought about it. Shouldn’t it be over… Fortunately, there were teams that wanted me, so I got another chance.

I returned to Shinhan Bank and spent 4 more seasons like that.

“I wouldn’t have chosen Shinhan Bank if I had only seen the conditions. First of all, there were (Lee) Kyung-eun and (Kim) Dan-bi. As I get older, I think it’s really important who I play with. It was the most fun when I played with Lee and (Kwak) Joo-young. I knew how it worked and what role I had to play, as long as I met my eyes without saying anything. It was really nice to be able to play with Danbi. If Danbi is on our team right now If so, I would have thought about extending my active career one more time. And Shinhan Bank was also meaningful. It’s where I started my professional career.”

Han Chae-jin, whose beginning and end were Shinhan Bank, remained the same on the court from beginning to end. In his final season, he ran the same as he did in his rookie year. He wasn’t without injuries, but fortunately there were no major injuries among his minor injuries.

“Of course, I have to thank my parents for passing on a good body. But I also took care of it really hard. I’m actually a person who gains weight easily. I really like food that makes me fat. I like sweets, I like snacks, I really like carbohydrates, bread, and rice cakes. I like everything to gain weight. I like pasta, and I absolutely have to eat cake. I always gain 3-5 kg ​​in the off-season. That’s why I weighed in every day. When I return to training after vacation, I always adjust my weight so that I can compete. “It was hard. I took a little break after that season and gained weight right away. I have to manage it. I’m worried about the wedding, and what if the fans are surprised when I gain too much weight at the retirement ceremony next season?”

Marriage that seemed unlikely to me
Han Chae-jin married a non-celebrity man 5 years younger than her on the 7th. Maybe that’s one of the reasons he chose her retirement. The groom-to-be, who was a fan of Han Chae-jin at first, is one of those who recommended retirement to him, who continues to exercise hard even at a not small age. Han Chae-jin also said, “If he hadn’t married his boyfriend, he might have continued his career as a player.”

“Actually, I said I wanted to retire last year too. I still asked. Because I haven’t signed my retirement yet. Since this is my last chance, I asked him to tell me, but he said, ‘I’ll give you pocket money, so stop’.”

“I originally thought it was not necessary to get married. I didn’t have a boyfriend and it was comfortable living alone. I didn’t lack anything. It’s time to do it.’ There was no reaction from the players, but rather, I think other acquaintances were very surprised. They asked if a man who could handle me had appeared. I speak.”메이저놀이터

Chaejin Han, who is not a player,
decided to retire, and now a new world awaits him. The modifier ‘player’ is missing after his name. In a way, he is unemployed. He hasn’t decided if he wants to continue with his basketball career or if he’s going to have a second life.

busy at first He had to prepare for marriage at the same time as he finished the season, and also had surgery because of sinusitis. When he gets married, he plans to go on a honeymoon to Bali, and also to Australia, where his younger brother is. Right now, the schedule is tight. In the meantime, in the long run, you have to prepare to fill the empty space for a new life that put down the name of ‘player’.

“Right now, it’s better than sad. I feel comfortable. Since I started playing basketball, I’ve been running without rest. It’s not. But I don’t think it’s bad to take a break now.”

As I have been a player for a long time, there are many people I am grateful for at the end of my career. Among them, the most affectionate name is Lee Kyung-eun.

“I was able to come this far because of Kyeong-eun. I really relied on it. I had a fighting spirit, so even when we trained together, there were times when I lost my temper because I didn’t want to lose to my younger siblings, but it was Kyeong-eun who took care of it. It was hard because of me. I When I retired, I didn’t know Kyeong-eun would cry like that. Now, without me, the burden of leading the kids will increase, so I feel sorry for Kyeong-eun even while retiring. I’ve been with Kyeong-eun for 14 to 15 years, but it seems like she left me alone… I’ll overcome it and do well. , I’m sorry that I can’t be by your side when things are difficult or good. Kyeong-eun has to get married too… Maybe that will take some time.”

(Lee Kyung-eun, in response to Han Chae-jin’s thought that it would take time before her marriage, said, “Who cares about who when I get married at the age of 40! I may go faster than I thought before I turned 40.”

) Han Chae-jin, who said this, suddenly brought out the name of Hwang Mi-woo. Hwang Mi-woo, a Korean-Japanese player, joined Samsung Life Insurance, but he could not play many games and was traded to Shinhan Bank, and retired at the end of the 2020-21 season. He is currently working as a power analyst at Shinhan Bank.

“He was a friend who gave me various ideas and ideas when I asked questions about basketball as well as other areas. Although he is younger than me, he gave me advice and talked a lot. To the extent that I said, ‘Don’t play Hwang Mi-woo, play Han Mi-woo.’ I took care of it, but I think I’ll really miss it. I won’t tell the manager and coaches separately. Even if I don’t say anything, you’ll know that I’m grateful. I’m really grateful to the club for taking care of me so well until the end.”

A long pro life. He couldn’t particularly bring out one of his fondest memories. Preserving all his memories preciously and beautifully, he said his final goodbyes to his fans.

“Thinking about it now, I think the whole process was good. I think that Han Chae-jin was able to exist because of those processes. It was the fans who made me worry until I got older. It was amazing that the number of fans increased as I got older, and I was so grateful that there were many people who came from far away. I was so grateful that I thought about what I should do for these people. I was struggling or unable to do it. I have been able to come this far because there are fans who support me with the same mindset even when I was young. Among those who have supported me for a long time, there are people who are like older sisters, younger brothers or friends, and I think I will continue to live in contact with them. Thank you very much.”

*This article was published in the May issue of Rookie.