I provoked ‘Mannequin’, but I lost 2 times in a row… A word from Lee Kwan-hee, who returned after being poisoned

Lee Gwan-hee “SK’s defense is just a mannequin”… LG, 2 consecutive losses, red light in the championship match Trash

talk is a kind of psychological warfare that often provokes opponents in sports. NBA (Mipro Basketball) legend Kevin Garnett (retired), who was called the number one player in stimulating trash talk during his active career, said, “I started using trash talk more strategically after I felt that it had a big impact on my opponent.” While revealing, he emphasized, “First of all, trash talking must be supported by skills. Basically, you have to be good at basketball to elicit the reaction of the other person.”

In fact, when Garnet was a young rookie, he had an experience of getting into trouble by choosing the wrong opponent and using trash talk recklessly. In February 1996, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett’s team at the time, had a close match against the Chicago Bulls, who boasted the strongest of the time. In the process of encouraging his teammates, who were in full swing, Garnett constantly poured out harsh words to provoke opponents, saying, “Your opponent will never stop you. Just trample on them.” The problem is that the opponent he provoked was Michael Jordan, the ‘Basketball Emperor’, who is considered the best player in NBA history.

Right offended by his far-out junior’s absurd remarks, Jordan glared at Garnett for a moment, and from then on, he began to show tremendous explosive power in the match and quickly turned the game upside down. Garnett, who seemed possessed for several minutes and was kicked off the bench, eventually had to apologize to his teammates for his cubby.

This is the episode that Garnett directly cited as the only moment he regretted among the many trash talks he committed during his active career after retirement. It is a prime example of how a clumsy trash talk that is not backed up by skills can actually return as a boomerang to yourself and your team.

‘Mannequin’ Derby ends with dark history

In the 2022-2023 season, the KBL professional basketball quarterfinal playoff between Seoul SK and Changwon LG is called the so-called ‘mannequin’ derby. It started when Lee Kwan-hee of Changwon LG provoked, saying, “SK defense is just a mannequin to me” ahead of the semifinal series.

Unlike the NBA, in the conservative Korean basketball culture, trash talk that snipes opponents or players has been rare, and the remarks themselves are quite high-level, so Lee’s provocation became a hot topic in many ways.

Lee Kwan-hee’s confidence also had a reason. Lee Kwan-hee played in all 6 games in the regular league against SK this season, averaging 17 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 45.5% of 3-point shots. It was the best record against SK among all LG players. LG was close to SK with 3 wins and 3 losses in the regular season, but won the fight for second place and took a direct ticket to the semifinals. As Lee Kwan-hee, ahead of the important spring basketball game, he took the lead in becoming a ‘speaker’ in order to check SK’s rising trend and boost the team’s morale.

However, as seen in the episode of Garnett and Jordan, trash talk that cannot be supported by skills and results must take the risk of returning as a ‘double-edged sword’. LG was on the verge of being eliminated by giving away the 1st and 2nd games at home to SK, with Lee Kwan-hee’s provocation and direct advantage going to the quarterfinals overshadowed. SK won two consecutive come-from-behind victories, 73-68 in the first game on the 14th and 92-91 in the second game on the 16th.

Last season, defending champion SK continued its explosive rise, winning 14 consecutive victories from the 6th round of the regular season through the PO playoffs to the 4th round. In particular, in this spring basketball season alone, SK has emerged as a ‘master of reversals’ enough to win four times overcoming the inferiority of the double-digit score until the semifinals 2nd and 3rd games and the semifinals 1st and 2nd games.

The probability of advancing to the championship match of the team that won the 1st and 2nd rounds of the previous semifinal playoffs is 100% (28 out of 28). If SK advances to the championship game as it is, the team that started from the PO of the 6th round set by Anyang KGC Ginseng Corporation (ranked 3rd in the regular league, won the championship) in the 2020-2021 season can reproduce the record of ’10 wins’ until the championship. 스포츠토토

On the other hand, LG, who returned to spring basketball after 4 years after the 2018-2019 season, failed to win a single win in the playoffs and was driven to the brink of having to worry about the sweep, disregarding the direct premium to the semifinals. Unlike the regular league win rate (691-665, win rate .510), which is over 50% in total, LG’s overall win rate in the playoffs has been only 28-52 (.350) so far, so it was particularly weak in the short game.

LG also has a ‘second place jinx’. Including this season, he finished second in the professional basketball regular league five times, but only once (2000-2001) advanced to the championship game. If you lose to SK this year in the 1997-1998 season (vs. Busan Kia), 2002-2003 season (vs. Wonju TG Sambo), and 2006-2007 season (vs. Busan KTF), only the 3rd place team will ‘upset’ 4 times, the most ever. He was put in danger of becoming the main character of a dishonorable record.

Lee Kwan-hee’s provocation that did not help LG

How was Lee Kwan-hee’s performance in the series, which made a loud noise? In the first game, Lee Kwan-hee digested 28 minutes and 25 seconds, scoring only 6 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. He attempted 11 field goals, but only three cut the rim and none of the 3-pointers.

However, in the second game, he saved face by scoring the most points among LG domestic players following Reggie Perry (31 points and 13 rebounds) with 19 points. However, the fact that the two players, who were really one-two punchers, were in a war of nerves and did not pass each other properly and ruined the team play, rather allowed an excuse for a reversal. In addition, Lee Kwan-hee had to leave the bench in the 4th quarter due to his stamina at the crucial moment, and watched the team collapse by allowing SK Lion Williams a come-from-behind winning shot just before the end of the game.

On the other hand, what about the SK players that Lee Kwan-hee devalued as mannequins? Everyone flew at the critical moment. In the first game, Choi Seong-won, Choi Won-hyeok, and Oh Jae-hyeon rushed with a more passionate defense than usual and tied Lee Kwan-hee tightly. There were also scenes where Lee Kwan-hee’s exclusive patent, ‘Clock Ceremony’ was copied or parodied.

In the second game, Heo Il-young stood out. Heo Il-young, a professional shooter, is not a good defensive player like Choi Seong-won or Choi Won-hyeok. Heo Il-young could not block Lee Kwan-hee as well as he did in the first game on defense, but instead scored 24 more points than Lee Kwan-hee and gained an advantage in offense and defense margin. 2-point shot success rate 100% (4/4), free throw success rate 100% (7/7), 3-point shot success rate (3) and success rate (50%) were all superior to Lee Kwan-hee in efficiency.

Heo Il-young mentioned Lee Kwan-hee directly after the victory that day. “Lee Kwan-hee said that our players are mannequins. However, Choi Won-hyeok, Choi Seong-won, and Oh Jae-hyun are all players who have been selected as the 5th defense,” he defended his teammates and said, “Lee Kwan-hee also gave me a lot of points. Just as I think of resources as mannequins, I think of Lee Kwan-hee that way too,” he retorted, and took revenge properly in the court and in the conversation. This scene shows that the SK players did not express themselves, but were grinding their teeth after hearing Lee’s remarks.

Of course, there is no need to criticize Lee Kwan-hee’s attempt at trash talk itself as ‘wrong words and actions’. If it does not cross the line too much in the world of sports, this moderate nerve conduction can be a seasoning that enhances the fun of the game. However, looking at this series alone, it is also clear that Lee’s provocation did not help LG as a result, but rather stimulated SK players’ fighting spirit and fighting power.

If the series ends with SK’s complete victory without a twist, Lee Kwan-hee’s remarks from the mannequin are expected to remain as a huge dark history. Will Lee Kwan-hee and LG be able to show a twist at the edge of the cliff?

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