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Basketball legend-turned-coach faces parent's complaints for 'meokbang'

March 14, 2024 - 11:14 By Yoon Min-sik
Hyun Joo-hyun's YouTube channel "mukboss Mr.JooYup" (YouTube)

Parents of student basketball players at Whimoon High School recently filed complaints against the team's head coach Hyun Joo-yup to Seoul education office, claiming that his TV and YouTube appearances are disrupting his duties as the coach.

According to reports by local media, the petitioners -- which also include officials from the school and the team -- accused Hyun of abnormal operations of his team due to his side job. The suspicions reported to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education also included verbal abuse of his players, abuse of authority, and choosing assistant coaches through an abnormal hiring process.

The 48-year-old former South Korean basketball legend is well-known for his TV appearances and YouTube channel, which predominantly features the so-called "meokbang" content that shows celebrities eating either delicacies or large amounts of food.

The petitioners claimed that Hyun frequently missed practice due to shooting. The coached reportedly missed an exhibition game with another school in Jan. 11, during which he was filming at a restaurant in Seoul.

Hyun was also accused of hiring his former high school teammate as an assistant coach, even after he was deemed unfit for the job in a past interview.

The head coach has denied all accusations, saying that his TV and YouTube appearances took place during after-work hours and that he had no knowledge of the assistant coach's previous failed attempt at the job. On another accusation of favoritism toward his own children on Whimoon's middle school squad, who he trained despite being the high school coach, Hyun said he trains both the middle and high school teams.

The SMOE said it is investigating the matter and has sent a request to the school. The school is slated to send a reply by the end of the week, after which the SMOE will decided whether to conduct an on-site inspection.

Hyun, former all-star player of the Korean Basketball League, was considered one of the best amateur players of his generation when he played for Whimoon High School. His powerful inside play earned him the nickname "Korean Charles Barkley" after the Hall of Fame NBA legend, and he was picked No. 1 in the 1998 KBL draft.