‘Kia-KT and KCC’ in Busan, a city of real records

After losing trust in Jeonju, KCC finally moves to another city. Busan, the former home of rival Kia in the early days of the KBL, is the new home.

KCC’s relocation has been finalized. The KBL approved KCC’s relocation at a board meeting held at the KBL Center on the 30th. KCC, which has been using Jeonju Gymnasium as its home since acquiring the Daejeon Hyundai Basketball Team in 2001, will be called ‘Busan KCC’ from the 2023-2024 season. This is the third team in history to call Busan home.

The first team to call Busan home was Kia (now Hyundai Mobis). Kia, which won five consecutive basketball championships with the unemployed “Heo Dong-man Trio” of Heo Jae, Kang Dong-hee, and Kim Young-man, welcomed Busan to its roots when the KBL was launched in 1997. Kia won the overall championship in the inaugural season, which was played at Sajik Gymnasium, marking the beginning of its fame.

After reaching the championship game for three consecutive seasons until the 1998-1999 season, Kia went downhill from the 1999-2000 season. Finishing sixth (21 wins and 24 losses), the team missed the playoffs for the first time in its history and finished ninth in the 2000-2001 season.

Kia, which had been pushing for the move since 2000, formalized the move with a signing ceremony at Ulsan City Hall after the 2000-2001 season. Since then, parent company Kia Motors has merged with Hyundai Motor Company, and Kia took down its sign when it acquired the Haetae baseball team.

Kia began the 2001-2002 season as Hyundai Mobis, an auto parts company affiliated with Hyundai Motor Company, and has called Ulsan home ever since. Hyundai Mobis won six championships in Ulsan and became a household name in the KBL.

After two seasons without a professional basketball program following Kia’s departure, Busan was revitalized in 2003. Korea Tender, which had made a splash in the 2002-2003 season by reaching the top four despite financial difficulties, became the new owner of Busan.

In 2003, Korea Tender attempted to switch to a civic club in its hometown of Yeosu, but was unsuccessful due to opposition from the Yeosu City Council. The team then pushed for a move to secure sponsorship from local businesses, and moved to Busan a month before the start of the 2003-2004 season. The team name was also changed from ‘Pumi’ to ‘Maxten’ after the Yeosu mascot.

After welcoming the 2003-2004 season as the Busan Korea Tender Maxten, the team was sold to KTF about a month after the start of the season and disappeared into history. Rebranded as the KTF Magic Wings, the team used Geumjeong Gymnasium as its home until the 2005-2006 season. Geumjeong Gymnasium was built for the 2002 Busan Asian Games. 스포츠토토

KTF moved to Sajik Gymnasium for the 2006-2007 season and immediately reached the championship game for the first time in its history. After two consecutive seasons in the bottom half of the standings, the team seemed to stagnate, but in the 2009-2010 season, with Jeon Chang-jin as the new head coach, the team changed its name to KT Sonic Boom and finished runner-up in the regular season. In the 2010-2011 season, the team won its first regular season title with a then-record 41 wins.

After 18 seasons together, KT and Busan’s relationship lasted until the 2020-2021 season. In 2021, KT said, “The travel distance of the players who train in Suwon will be greatly reduced, and the efficiency of the operation can be maximized by utilizing the existing resources of the club. We can also expect operational synergies with other sports such as baseball. After reviewing various aspects, we made a difficult decision to relocate to Suwon.”

Just like Korea Tender, which was based in Jeolla Province, KCC also moved from Jeolla Province to Busan. KCC’s predecessor, Hyundai, was a rival to Kia in the early days of the KBL, facing off in the championship game twice. KCC’s predecessor, Hyundai, faced Kia in the championship game twice in the early years of the KBL.

The 2010-2011 season championship, won by Ha Seung-jin and Jeon Tae-pung, was the last time KCC won a title with Jeonju as its home. Since then, KCC has failed to win the championship and suffered a loss of pride, but can they rebuild their reputation in Busan?

Meanwhile, KCC became the second team in history to relocate more than once, including their predecessor. The team with the most moves is KT. Suwon is KT’s fourth stadium after Gwangju, Yeosu, and Busan. Busan also became the first city in history to host a third professional team.

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