Here we are, sitting in the dog days of summer, the quietest time of the year if you are a college basketball fan. The NBA is in full sleep mode, there isn’t a single international tournament happening, and recruiting is basically at a standstill.
Thank goodness for Rui Hachimura.
Although the former Gonzaga Bulldogs forward and current Washington Wizards soon-to-be-star already entered the corporate realm after signing with Nike’s Jordan brand, it is this newly released Nissin commercial that will give me the strength to pull through the day.
New Legend Begins indeed. In case you were born under a rock, Rui Hachimura, born in Toyama, Japan, is the first Japanese-born player to be drafted by a NBA team in the modern era (technically, Yasutaka Okayama is the first, although he never signed, and was the 10th pick of the eighth round in the 1981 draft).
In non-hyperbolic terms, Hachimura is the Japanese-version of Yao Ming for NBA Basketball. At the NBA Draft, there were well over 40 members from the Japanese news media climbing over each other for the perfect shot. As of right now, Hachimura is the face of basketball for Japan.
He started out his NBA career justifying his No. 9 pick. Rui averaged 19.3 points, seven rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game during the NBA Summer League, earning second team honors.
In a few weeks, he will head off to join Team Japan in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, in which his squad will face an uphill climb. Team Japan’s fellow Group E participants are Turkey, Czech Republic, and the USA.
The NBA season hasn’t even started yet, and the commercialized Rui machine is up and running at a high capacity. That will hopefully make this offseason a little easier to manage.