Can 'Singles Inferno' boost basketball's popularity?

时间:2023-12-11 21:27:03来源:jackslot 作者:과학

With the third season of Netflix dating reality show "Singles Inferno" ready to release next week, one participant grabbing the eyes of local basketball fans is Lee Gwan-hee, a brash, outspoken and somewhat-controversial guard playing for the Changwon LG Sakers of the Korea Basketball League.

Lee’s appearance will mark the first time an active professional athlete will appear in the wildly popular show, and fans of the mildly liked KBL are wondering if the publicity will help boost the sport's popularity here.

Producers of the show have heralded a bundle of changes for the new season, saying it will be "rawer and rougher" than previous seasons.

Lee, 35, is among the best-known pro basketball players in South Korea, despite his lack of major accolades like the MVP or the KBL Best 5 -- equivalent to the All-NBA First Team in the NBA. The jersey he wore for the 2023 KBL All-Star Game sold for 1.98 million won ($1,510) at a public auction after the game, higher than any other player who took the floor that night.

The shooting guard is also known among local basketball fans for not shying away from public comments. Such attitude has led to him invoking multiple feuds with older members of the basketball community, something relatively uncommon in a culture where seniority demands respect.

Sakers coach Cho Sang-hyun said in an interview that he "absolutely laughed" when he heard Lee was shooting the reality TV show. "Gwan-hee told me he would fill up the arena (for our team) in December," Cho said. "That's the guy he is. He shows off when he has to."

Lee's bold pledge of urging new fans out to the arena may be a sign of confidence, but it is also based on real necessity: South Korean basketball players in general do not have a parade of fans following them, and the KBL is far from the most popular sports league in the country.

While Lee is among the better-known names, one would have to take great liberty with the word "star" to call him one. Before the release of the dating show's new season, his YouTube channel has a tad under 20,000 subscribers and his Instagram page has some 16,000 followers.