Earlier this month, Delia Zanoschi and Tum Preugpaibul (RCs) announced the winners of the inaugural HBS exceptional athlete awards, an initiative they started this year to recognize the best athletes at HBS. This week, Delia and Tum interviewed HBS Class of 2016 exceptional athlete winner George Rudolph.
GEORGE RUDOLPH: BASKETBALL
SECTION A, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
When did you start?
I started when I was 6 or 7 years old. I had just moved to South Korea, and there was this small, slightly crooked makeshift wooden basketball hoop in the driveway of our apartment building, nestled in between some garbage cans and the entryway. To make it even more challenging, we also lived on a hill, so the ground itself was sloped.
Despite this awkward set-up, I started to get into the sport – it became an after-school ritual to shoot around until it got too dark to see. I’ve pretty much stuck with it since then.
What was your magic moment?
The closest thing to a “magic moment” was probably in a regional tournament I was at in Undergrad with the club team. It was a playoff game, so if we lost, we would be eliminated and would have to go back home.
It was a really tight game, and at the end of the game we were down by three points with a few seconds to go. I got fouled in the act of shooting just as time expired, so I had three free throws and an opportunity to tie the game. I needed to make all three to send the game into overtime; if I missed just one, it was game over. It’s the kind of situation you simultaneously dream of and dread; all eyes are on you, but if you mess up, there’s nobody to blame but yourself.
I ended up making all three and we went into overtime, but the magic ended up being short-lived. In overtime, the guy I was defending ended up hitting a game-winning shot right over me. I guess you could call that my muggle moment.