Despite the fact that Kobe Bryant only played 41 games last season, Black Mamba is still one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA. The 37 year old still managed to average over 20 points per game and is still the player that despises losing. Kobe Bryant is still extremely efficient when it comes to working his way to the free throw line and converting. Many question his ability to pass, but he is actually very efficient at finding the open man, the only problem for him in 2014 is that not many of his teammates could finish. Kobe Bryant may not be the superstar he was in the past, but Kobe will no doubt be a top 10 scorer in the NBA if he can stay healthy, and has a legitimate chance to lead the LA Lakers to a playoff birth.
Gakjeochong (각저총:角抵塚) murals show that wrestling in Korea dates back as early as the pre-Three Kingdom era. The Book of Later Han, a Chinese document that was written either before or early in the history of the Three Kingdoms also has records of Korean wrestling. Ssireum first gained widespread popularity during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). In traditional life, Ssireum was a popular activity on the Korean holidays and the traditional prize for winning a tournament was an ox, a valuable commodity in agriculturally-oriented society, which symbolized the strength of the contestant.
Ssireum is conducted within a circular ring, measuring approximately 7 meters in diameter, which is covered with mounded sand. The two contestants begin the match by kneeling on the sand in a grappling position (baro japki), each grabbing a belt—known as a satba(샅바)—which is wrapped around his opponent’s waist and thigh. The wrestlers then rise while retaining their hold on the other’s ‘satba.’ The match is awarded to the wrestler who forces the other contestant to touch the ground with any part of his body at knee level or higher.
Today there are also women Ssireum wrestlers. Women wrestle only among themselves but follow the same rules (except that men are topless whereas women wear tops).
There are 4 weight classes in professional wrestling: flyweight (Taebaek), lightweight (Geumgang), middleweight (Halla), and heavyweight (Baekdu), named after the four famous peaks in Korea.
The professional league is dwindling in popularity and many wrestlers have turned their attention to mixed martial arts fighting, even though Ssireum involves no striking or submissions of any kind, as a means of making a living. Choi Hong-man, former champion of Ssireum, is enjoying notable success in the K-1 scene. Unfortunately, the future of professional Ssireum remains bleak, with only one team remaining. However, it can also be argued that Ssireum is beginning to undergo global expansion as a popular martial arts sport, alongside taekwondo and hapkido.
Nowadays popular comedian and TV host Kang Ho-Dong first became known to Koreans as the top Korean traditional wrestler. Known as 'Devil on the sand’ for his arrogant and fearless demeanor, he went on to win the Baekdujangsa Ssireum Championship seven times and the Cheonhajangsa Ssireum Championship five times, he was widely recognized as the youngest ever Cheonhajangsa title holder.