January 26, 2018 09:58
Recently naturalized U.S.-born basketball player Ricardo Ratliffe expressed his appreciation for being granted Korean citizenship at a press conference in Seoul on Thursday.
"I'm just honored [to be eligible to join the Korean national team]," he said. "I'll try to help South Korea be a better team."
Aside from a handful of half-Korean players, Ratliffe is the first foreign-born basketball player to acquire Korean citizenship. He applied under a special naturalization program that fast-tracks citizenship for people with certain specialized skills.
His name was added to the roster for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China after he passed an interview with the Ministry of Justice on Monday.
Ratliffe, who is currently considered the best center in the Korean Basketball League, made his professional debut in Korea in 2012 after graduating from the University of Missouri. He played for Ulsan Mobis Phoebus until the 2014-15 season, moving to Seoul Samsung Thunders in 2015.
He plans to start using his Korean name, Ra Gun-ah (Robust Man), soon.
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