January 22, 2018 10:27
Basketball player Ricardo Ratliffe acquired Korean citizenship on Friday, making him eligible to join the Korean national team.
The Justice Ministry allows people with special talents in specific areas such as science, culture and sports to be fast-tracked to citizenship.
Ratliffe will have dual citizenship of the U.S. and Korea as soon as he passes an interview, becoming the first U.S.-born basketball player to acquire Korean citizenship.
Ratliffe debuted in the Korean Basketball League in the 2012-13 season.
He led his team to three straight victories in the KBL Championship finals while playing for Ulsan Mobis Phoebus from 2013 to 2015. He moved to Seoul Samsung Thunders in 2015 and notched a 56-game double-double streak.
Korea is competing in the Asian qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China. Korea currently has one win and one loss.
Ratliffe is expected to join in the matches against Hong Kong and New Zealand late next month.
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