David Simon, a 35-year-old Anyang KGC center, has been playing overseas for more than a decade now, but a new rule means he’ll have to find a team in another country. He’s now too tall for the Korean Basketball League.
The KBL instituted a rule last month to limit the height of foreign players to two meters, and to only have a maximum of two foreign players per team, according to the Korea Times. At 6-foot-8 or 202 centimeters, Simon doesn’t cut it. Neither do Jeonju KCC’s Charles Rhodes (a mere 200.1 centimeters) or Wonju Dongbu Promy’s Rod Benson (206.7).
The rule was reportedly put in place to encourage teams to recruit more locally and find players who aren’t merely tall. Although height definitely helps, it doesn’t necessarily translate to skill in the sport—but it has for Simon, who led the league this season in scoring (26.1 points per game) and blocks (2.2).
Simon sounded defeated about the new policy. “Personally, I don’t really understand it,” he told radio program BBC OS. (The segment starts at 48:30.) “Just from the fact that—there are only two or three of us that were even over the limit, and then two of us are right there. The tallest guy, Rod Benson, he was well over the limit, but besides that, most of the guys there aren’t super small, or there isn’t that much a difference in their skills.”
Simon said he’s not sure where he’ll go next. Although he’s 35, he still feels like he can keep playing.