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Documentary of the legendary Korean-American female basketball player EJ Lee on the way

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Sul Ross State University basketball head coach EJ Lee (center) is pictured with her teammates when she was a starter at the University of Louisiana Monroe in the 1980s. [EJ Lee’s Twitter]
Documentary of the legendary Korean-American female basketball player EJ Lee on the way

A feature-length documentary about the legendary Korean-American female basketball player who took the NCAA basketball court by storm in the 1980s is being produced.

The documentary, titled “EJ Lee: All-American,” is being produced by Jason Lee, a film graduate of DePaul University in Chicago. The documentary follows Eun Jung Lee’s basketball journey, who is now the head coach at Sul Ross State University in Texas.

Known as the “Korean Magic Johnson of NCAA women’s basketball,” Eun Jung Lee, who goes by EJ, was a college basketball star and was inducted into the University of Louisiana Monroe’s Hall of Fame,” says Jason Lee. “Before Jeremy Lin and Yao Ming, there was Eun Jung Lee.”

Growing up in South Korea where basketball was not popular, EJ was initially set to join a professional basketball team after graduating from Soongeui Girls’ High School but was spotted by then-Louisiana Monroe coach Linda Harper, which led her to study in the United States.

Defying the stereotype that “Asians can’t play basketball,” EJ became a legend at Louisiana. She was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year every year for four seasons.

In the 1984-1985 season, she led the school basketball team to the NCAA Final Four for the first time in Louisiana College history. She scored 2,208 points during her basketball career and holds Louisiana College records in eight different categories.

During EJ’s four years as a player at Louisiana, Louisiana College was at its prime time with a total record of 102 wins and 15 losses. To honor EJ’s achievements, the college decided to permanently retire EJ’s jersey number 5 from the school basketball team.

After playing for Louisiana College, EJ briefly played in the Italian and Swedish leagues. By the time the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) started in 1997, she was in her mid-30s, married, and with a child, so going pro was not an option.

Today, EJ is the only Korean-American to hold a head coach position in college basketball in the United States. In 2020, EJ applied to be the head coach of the South Korean women’s national basketball team but was denied the chance because she did not have a South Korean coaching license.

“Through EJ’s life story, we want to explore the journey of Asian women in sports,” said Jason Lee. “I hope I can honestly share EJ’s accomplishments, joy, and struggles as I wish I could have done for my mother and for the many Asian Americans and Asian immigrants who’ve suffered in silence.”

Jason Lee is asking for donations to help fund the documentary. Donations can be made at ejleedocumentary.com.

BY YEOL JANG [support@koreadaily.com