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Lawson special naturalization? ‘Prudism and Realism’

Recently, the possibility of Didrick Lawson, a foreign player playing for DB, becoming a Korean naturalized citizen was raised. In an interview with a media outlet, Lawson said, “If an offer to naturalize comes, I am willing to accept it. Jefferson is my best friend, and I thought a lot about him when I saw him play for the Jordan national team. It all started when he said, “I also want to experience the international stage representing one country.”

Lawson, who made a new home at Wonju DB this season, has been reborn as the strongest player in the KBL. He has played in 16 games as of the 30th and is dominating the court with an average score of 23.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. He has already recorded two triple-doubles along with winning the first round MVP award. DB, with Lawson, is leading the league with 14 wins and 2 losses.

In fact, it is known that the Korea Basketball Association also mentioned Lawson's name. An official from the Korea Basketball Association said, "At the evaluation meeting of the National Team Performance Improvement Committee held after the last Asian Games in Hangzhou, there was mention of candidates for naturalization, including Didric Lawson."

Born in 1997, he is relatively young, so he can be expected to be active for a long time, which is also an advantage. There is continued evaluation that he is a good fit for our national team, whose contract with Laguna to call up the Korean national team ends in May next year.

However, it is unlikely that this will lead to actual naturalization right now. The reason is the Korean Basketball Association’s ‘cautious policy’. The position is that like La Gun-ah, who bombed KBL 5-6 years ago, confidence and evidence in his skills are needed. At the time, Laguna was a ‘special player’ who led each team he played for, including Hyundai Mobis and Samsung, to become a contender for the championship.

The fact that one must go through a difficult special naturalization procedure also adds weight to the cautious argument. When the Korea Basketball Association requests special naturalization for outstanding talent, the Korea Sports Council recommends the candidate to the Ministry of Justice. As it is a process of granting 'dual citizenship,' the 'requirement verification' barrier is high.

The Korea Basketball Association previously predicted the possibility of special naturalization for Tae-jong Moon's son, Jae-rin Stevenson, but decided that it was too early for Jae-rin Stevenson, who is not yet a professional player, to receive approval from the Ministry of Justice at this point.

The Korea Basketball Association said, "Just because Laguna's contract ends, it does not mean that we will unconditionally pursue the naturalization of other players. Like other Asian countries such as China and Iran, the national team can be run mainly by domestic players, and if there is a clear vision for the long term. “Not Lawson, but other foreign players could be the target,” he said.

From the team's perspective, the naturalization of foreign players is a matter of 'reality' and 'responsibility'. Most foreign players playing in the KBL sign contracts that last at most seven months. During the off-season, they seek additional income by playing in other leagues. However, teams with naturalized players must provide a so-called ‘full guarantee’ for one year. In Laguna’s case, her team also resolved her tax issues. National team-related allowances paid by the federation and association are a separate story.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

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