Ri Myung-hun, the North Korean giant who never made it to the NBA because they wanted his wages in…wheat!



The 2.35-meter Asian giant was training in Canada despite his 32-year-old age. When the doors of the NBA opened, diplomacy between nations thwarted his dream.


Ri Myung-hoon is for example North Korean basketball player Born in 1967 and He could have been an NBA player in the late ’90s. diplomacy between The United States and North Koreaalways degraded, plotted against the chances of playing in the elite.

During the basketball clinic in PyongyangIn 1998, he discovered it Tony RonzonMember of the Fiba and recruits Dallas Mavericks. Ronzon refused to travel to North Korea due to the political situation in the country, but they told him about a player from 2.35 tall And very good skills for this size, so he decided to go see it.

Although he started playing basketball quite late, Ry was in excellent shape and heralded a similarly auspicious room for improvement. He hasn’t played sports since he was a kid and everything changed when he saw Michael Jordan; This was the magic he called himself Michael Ray. The story goes that Ronzone had to make countless efforts to convince Ry to leave the country and he did so before the end of 1998.

Dennis Rodman

The player arrived in Canada at the age of 32 and began training. His height first and his abilities later began to attract the attention of some franchisees who were interested in hiring him.

But in the United States there is a law (from 1917), still in effect, called The act of trading with the enemy. There is a list of countries Forbidden Which the government does not allow US companies to do business with. After intense requests The State Department granted him permission to play in the NBA in 2000 But it prevented him from sending remittances to his country. For every beloved North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il refused to let Ry play in the US Then he decided to back down and accept one condition that he be paid in wheat.

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Ry never had a chance to play in the NBA again and he said a few years ago: “I was living a good life in North Korea, even without this contract.”

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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