Long before Linsanity, crowds in Louisiana were chanting “EJ! EJ!” for a 5-foot-6 basketball talent from South Korea. E.J. Ok would become one of the greatest point guards ever to play college basketball, yet her name and repute hardly make the radar outside of her adopted home state, where she is revered. This is the untold story of a woman—and phenomenal athlete—ahead of her time, but whose dream of winning a national title is still in play. (And don’t forget to check out Ok’s player highlights video after the story!)
by STEVE HAN
photograph by TERRANCE ARMSTARD
With three hours to go before tipoff, the line outside Ewing Coliseum on the campus of Northeast Louisiana University circled around the arena. An antsy crowd of 7,000 eagerly waited to enter for the biggest and most anticipated game of March Madness basketball in the school’s history.
The Lady Indians were about to take on their longtime rivals, Louisiana Tech, in the NCAA Midwest Regional championship game for a berth in the nation’s Final Four.
As the game got underway, fervent chants of “EJ! EJ!” from the crowd reverberated inside the arena at eardrum-splitting levels, as fans showed their appreciation for NLU’s star player, E.J., short for Eun Jung, Lee. The junior point guard, who only came to the U.S. from Gimje, South Korea, three years earlier, had already earned a special place in the hearts of these fans. Continue Reading »
BBCN Bank has named Kevin S. Kim as its permanent president and chief executive officer, positions the 56-year-old has been holding on an interim basis since January. The unanimous appointment by the company’s board of directors makes Kim the chairman, president and chief executive officer of both BBCN Bank and its holding company, BBCN Bankcorp, Inc.
“It is a privilege to have the opportunity to lead the premier Korean American bank in the nation,” Kim said, according to a press announcement released today. “My dream for BBCN has always been to build a company which represents the most successful business enterprise among those founded by Korean Americans. I look forward to working even more closely with the entire management team and board to further strengthen and build upon the BBCN franchise.”
Kim has served as BBCN Bankcorp, Inc.’s chairman since May 2012, and was appointed as its president and chief executive in March of last year.
Photos by Mark Edward Harris for KoreAm
In the wake of the recent South Korean maritime disaster, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu held an autograph signing to raise funds for the survivors and families of the victims.
Ryu made a special appearance Sunday at the Viva Los Dodgers event to help those affected by the capsized South Korean ferry Sewol, from which 87 are confirmed dead while 215 are still missing, as of 6 a.m. on April 21. He donated $100,000 of his own earlier through his HJ 99 foundation.
“I’ve donated money and held this charity event not to show off, but to do the least I could to support the families of the missing who are still waiting for their children,” Ryu wrote in his weekly column on Korean news website Naver. “As Koreans, when you live away from your country, you’re more sensitive about what happens there. I’m sure all Koreans who live abroad will agree.”
Rescue workers install floats where the capsized passenger ferry sank in the sea off Jindo island.
Photo via Reuters/Yonhap
The South Korean ferry tragedy, from which over 260 people are still missing, has added another casualty, after the vice principal from the high school that had over 300 of its students on board was found dead in what is believed to be a suicide.
Kang Min-kyu, one of the 179 passengers rescued, was found hanging from a tree at a small mountain on Jindo island, near a temporary shelter where families of those still missing have gathered to learn the fate of their loved ones. The vice principal at Danwon High School in Ansan, Kang had organized the school’s annual field trip to Jejudo, the destination to which students and faculty never reached.
The 52-year-old had been missing since Thursday. The South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo reported that, before Kang went missing, police had questioned him about whether he took proper care of 325 students and 14 teachers as the ferry was sinking,
Mega-brand Banana Republic has hired Marissa Webb, a former womenswear designer at J. Crew, as its new creative director and executive vice president of design, it was reported in the Los Angeles Times this week.
Webb replaces Simon Kneen, who was in charge of the store’s design department from 2009 to 2013, during which time the retailer lost ground to competitors J. Crew, H&M and others. Gap Inc., Banana Republic’s parent company, revealed earlier this week in its financial reports that the retailer’s sales declined by 4 percent from the year before.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Webb was adopted by an American family from Korea at age 4. She also previously worked for Polo and Club Monaco. In 2011, she launched her own eponymous label, a casual contemporary clothing line that is sold at retailers like Barneys New York.