Too tall: Vernon Hills native kicked out of South Korean basketball league

VERNON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- Too tall: Vernon Hills native sidelined from South Korean basketball league

Imagine being told you're too tall to play basketball.

At 6-feet-8-inches tall, David Simon was told just that.

The 35-year-old Vernon Hills native has played basketball overseas for over a decade, but the Korean Basketball League said he is only a few centimeters too tall to play, leaving him sidelined and back in the northwest suburbs.

However, Simon's height has always been his advantage on the court. During the last few seasons, the 35-year-old center was considered one of the best players in Korea.

He started playing overseas after his college days in Indiana and playing for Stevenson High School.

"I've never been in a situation where I was not invited back because I'm too tall," Simon said.

Why was Simon kicked out? South Korean basketball officials said fans are leaving games because they believe there is an over-reliance on tall players, making the game, they say, less interesting.

So the league imposed a 200-centimeter height restriction that applies only to foreign players.

"I was so close to the line. If we walked down the street, couldn't tell I was over the limit," Simon said.

For now, Simon is back home in Vernon Hills, shooting hoops in his mom's driveway where he grew up playing, still wondering why he had to leave under such bizarre circumstances.

"Big reason why European teams bring in players," Simon said. "So they can play against the bigger guys and get better. With height limitation it limits the guys they play against with the rest of the world."

Many of the fans in South Korea are supporting Simon and calling the new rule ridiculous and an international shame.

Simon said he had a great time playing in South Korea and will definitely miss his teammates.

Right now, he's weighing his options, which includes possibly playing in Europe again.
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