In our latest version of Unveiling the Wizard, we spoke with Noah Kim, a grad school student from Maryland who is studying abroad in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. We haven’t spoken to too many folks who are from the Washington area since Ken Rabin (a/k/a WarsawKen), so this should be a good change of pace. We hope you enjoy!
BF: How you get to catch up following the Wizards from where you live?
Noah Kim: I am from Maryland having graduated from UMBC a couple of years ago. Since then I have lived in Seoul, South Korea and I'm currently attending graduate school here.
In terms of catching up with the Wizards from where I live, watching games has been almost impossible since most games happen while I'm working due to the time difference and if I could catch games it was through streaming sites. Unlike some other Asian countries like China and the Philippines, the NBA is not very popular in South Korea. The most popular spectator sport by far being the Korean Baseball Organization.
I never really see to many NBA related material on Korean television. Anything basketball related was usually about the Korean Basketball League. At the end of the day, I was relegated to reading post game analysis on Bullets Forever and Wiz of Awes and watching highlights on YouTube.
BF: What Wizards moments have inspired your fandom for the team?
Noah: For me there was no real defining "moment" that inspired my fandom. Rather, it was a slow process from watching John Wall highlights on YouTube for a year or two, to catching Wizards game in its entirety.
But if I had to pick one, it was during the third quarter in Game 2 against the Raptors of the 2015 NBA Playoffs.
The Wiz committed a turnover and Lou Williams tried to capitalize on the following fast break when he was swatted into the stratosphere by Wall. In the next possession, Williams tried to guard Wall as he drove for a layup. But Wall made the layup, got fouled by him, and the "And1."
All the while completely shutting up the fans at Jurassic Park. The complete domination on both ends of the floor have never made me more proud of the team at that moment.
BF: Who is your favorite player on the current Wizards team?
Noah: John Wallllllll!!
BF: Who is your favorite player on the Wizards franchise of all-time? (From 1962 on)
Noah: Still Wall. Sadly I wasn't a fan yet of the NBA during the Agent Zero's time so I missed that whole era of Wizards history. Though considering the final outcome of that piece of Wiz history, maybe it was for the better...
BF: The Wizards have decided to add more depth in 2016 NBA Free Agency as opposed to "going all in" for superstars. Do you feel this is the right decision?
Noah: Honestly, I'm pretty pessimistic that we may be wasting the best years of Wall's career in D.C.
I understand what Ernie Grunfeld is trying to do, adding more depth during Free Agency considering the poor performance of our bench. And I understand how much Wall has had to carry the team all the while playing insane amount of minutes last year.
However, even though I understand why we had to seal Beal to a max contract, we are banking our success on the hope that Beal will somehow finally break through his injury glass ceiling and finally become an all star along with the continued success of Otto Porter. I'm not sure I'm willing to bet money on all that.
No matter how much people say Basketball is about teamwork, it doesn't change the fact that the NBA is a star-driven league. Either you get at least two stars together or you heck the Popovich-Spurs out of your team. Right now John Wall is our only star and he needs his Scottie Pippen.
Can Beal seal the deal and end the Achilles heel of his injury woes? Maybe. Is Scott Brooks going to metamorphosis into a Popovich-Kerr-teamwork-ball moving-combo that also takes advantage of smart roster construction by the GM? Nah...But one can hope and pray.
Here in Korea, I'm gonna be doing a lot of praying for this team. Even though I may be 8,000 miles away, the Wiz represent of piece of my heart that is the DMV. And I've been a Skins fan since I was a kid, I can handle a little tribulation and sports heartbreak. Love my Wizards.