Arirang News
  Updated : MAR 26, 2010
The First Naturalized Half-Korean Brothers in KBL
 
 
Lee Seung-joon and Lee Dong-joon, formerly known as Eric and Daniel Sandrin before coming to Korea are the first naturalized half-Korean brothers playing in the Korean Basketball League.
Born to an American father and a Korean mother the two were born and raised in the US learned basketball from their dad and played in various leagues, including the NBA and the European league.
It was the younger of the brothers, Lee Dong-joon, who first came to Korea four years ago to pursue his career as a pro basketball player.
And three years after his brother. Lee Seung-joon came to Korea also giving up his US citizenship for a Korean one.


[Interview : Lee Dong-joon, Basketball player
Daegu Orions] "I've always been curious about Korea so it was a chance for me to rediscover my roots and the opportunity to play for the National Team, that's just awesome."

But of course, they admit it wasn't all smooth sailing for them while adjusting to Korean society.
Language was, indeed, a barrier, but the Korean sports society seemed very different, as well.


[Interview : Lee Seung-joon, Basketball player
Samsung Thunders] "It was actually a little different to live in a dormitory when you're 32 and not being able to do things without the coach's permission.
But I think all in all, it's been good because there are a lot of players on my team that are older, like Lee Sang-min, who sat me down and talked to me a lot. He's given a lot of helpful advice."

Playing on different teams, the brothers have even had to play against each other this season.
But, they truly enjoy even that, too.

[Interview : Lee Seung-joon, Basketball player
Samsung Thunders] "The best part of me being a part of the KBL is playing in my mother's country, playing with my brother and just being here being able to have the experience to learn a little more about ourselves."

And, how does their American dad feel about his two sons changing their citizenship[Interview : Duane Sandrin, Father] "Ultimately, I just wanted them to be happy. They're both intelligent people and if that's what they have decided to do, it doesn't change the fact that they're still my sons."

The executive director of KBL, Kim Dong-gwang, the first half-Korean basketball player ever to play on a Korean court explains what half-Korean players mean to the nation.

[Interview : Kim Dong-kwang, Executive Director
Korean Basketball League] "Naturalized half-Korean players are great assets for Korea's national competitiveness in the game. Their physical advantage will enhance the level of Korean basketball, as well as, the national team in international competitions."

When asked about the tattoo on his arm, Seung-joon explains the two tigers symbolize him and his brother climbing up a mountain which is Korea.
They are in the process of reaching the top of the mountain and becoming as successful as possible both, in rediscovering the Korean side of themselves as well as becoming stronger on the court with a Korean flag on their jerseys.


"As the world becomes increasingly boarderless in terms of human interaction, more and more multicultural Koreans are finding their way back to their homeland in search of their roots and athletes are no exception.
Moon Conn-young, Arirang News."
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