A hero fighting the ‘giant disease’… Basketball star Kim Young-hee “Everyday is a gift”

[김영희/전 농구 국가대표 : 처음엔 ‘거인 아줌마’라 하다가 나중엔 ‘농구 이모’로…절 받아주시니까 얼마나 행복한지 모르겠습니다.]


Kim Young-hee, a leading player in the silver medal in the LA Olympics, was a shining star in women’s basketball in the 1980s. It has been 34 years since I left the court, and today (29th) I am also fighting alone and together with acromegaly, the so-called ‘giant disease’.

Correspondent Haeun Choi.


The history of women’s basketball cannot be described without mentioning the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

[대한뉴스 (1984년) : 여자 농구의 은메달은 참으로 값진 것이었습니다.]

Kim Young-hee was at the center of the Olympic silver medal, the first gold medal in the ball game.

When I caught the ball from under the goal at over 2m tall, no one could block it.

At the basketball festival, he recorded 52 points in a game, the most scoring record, and also climbed to five gold medals.

However, due to his height, he had to leave the court before the second Olympics.

He secreted too much growth hormone and had a tumor in his brain. He collapsed during training and underwent surgery.

After completing his short basketball career at the age of 24, he has struggled with stinging eyes as well as an ever-growing disease.

I lived alone in a single room and lived on a monthly pension of 700,000 won.

Still, through donations and volunteering, we took care of our neighbors in need.

[김영희/전 농구 국가대표 : (사람들이) 무서워서 못 다가오는데 제가 먼저 웃었어요. ‘키가 너무 크지만 마음은 솜사탕입니다’ 이렇게 다가갔고…]

I couldn’t survive without medicine, and recently I lost consciousness for nearly ten days.

Even though it takes all my energy to walk a few steps, a new day is a hope and a gift.

[김영희/전 농구 국가대표 : 아 내가 깼구나, 오늘 아침엔 아침 햇살을 보겠구나. 감사합니다… 어떻게든 살아야 하니까…]

Heo Jae, Seo Jang-hoon, and basketball players contributed to living expenses and medical expenses several times, and younger juniors also started to donate.

[고아라/하나원큐 : 길을 잘 닦아주셨기 때문에 지금 저희가 편한 시설에서, 좋은 환경에서 운동할 수 있다고 생각하거든요.]

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also provided a special subsidy of 10 million won. Kim Young-hee said she would get up again.

[고맙습니다. 감사합니다.]

(Screen source: KTV)
(Video graphic: Han Young-joo)


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