Washington Wizards with Rui Hachimura by Hersey Shiga

The Washington Wizards with Rui Hachimura coming to Japan

The Washington Wizards will compete in the NBA Japan Games 2022 this fall, featuring Rui Hachimura, a well-known native Japanese player. The team is finally back in the game after a two-year layoff due to the pandemic and Japanese basketball fans can’t wait to see their superstar perform in Japan.

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Washington Wizards Vs Golden State Warriors

The Washington Wizards will be up against the six-time NBA champion, Golden State Warriors and with its star player Stephen Curry, a team supported by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. They are set to play on September 30 and October 2 at Saitama Super Arena for two preseason games.

It will be the first game play of Washington Wizards in the Land of the Rising Sun, which has been exciting all Japanese basketball fans since arrival of Hachimura.

Washington Wizards with Rui Hachimura by Hersey Shiga
Washington Wizards joins NBA Games Japan 2022 with Rui Hachimura versus Golden State Warriors. Credit: Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards Features Rui Hachimura of Toyoma, Japan

The Washington Wizards are ecstatic about its new rising star, who is helping to popularize the team in Japan and other countries. The Wizards have gained Japanese followers rapidly, prompting them to optimize various media platforms for improved engagement with the new fans.

On May 18, a management team of Washington Wizards held an exclusive Meet & Greet in Tokyo to promote the team, games, and their rising talent Hachimura. 

Washington Wizards with Rui Hachimura by Hersey Shiga
Jim Van Stone, President, Business Operations & Chief Commercial Officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment presenting partnership opportunities

Jim Van Stone, President, Business Operations & Chief Commercial Officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment (Owners of Washington Wizards) :

“We have some of the best players in the WNBA, and they’re getting better because Rui dishes the ball probably better than any point guard that we’ve had in a long, long time. So we’re really excited about Rui Machida joining the Wizards.

He emphasized the importance of the Japanese fans and the efforts that the Washington Wizards are making to bring fans and the team closer:

“…the day that Rui was drafted, there was a lot of excitement and energy. The very next day we had his opening press conference in Washington, DC, and we had over a hundred Japanese media members attend his press conference in Washington.”

… right then and there we realized in order for the Washington Wizards to develop a very authentic relationship with fans of basketball and sports in Japan, that we needed to create an international language content platform in Japanese.

Jim pointed out the commercial opportunities, not only for the Washington Wizards but for Japanese business interests to achieve their goals through professional sports marketing:

“I will tell you from a business operations standpoint with owning sports teams, we believe it’s truly an incredible fan engagement opportunity and a really great way to grow your core business in sports and entertainment…

Rui Hachimura New Cherry Blossom Jerseys

Washington Wizards with Rui Hachimura by Hersey Shiga

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the new 2022/23 season jerseys, which aren’t in stores yet. Rui Hachimura has been the number one selling jersey in Japan over the last three years and there was a lot of excitement surrounding the Rui Hachimura memorabilia piece, the bobblehead doll around the cherry blossom. Continuing with this popular trend, Jim presented a preview of the new cherry blossom uniforms. 

Washington Wizard spokesperson: “We announced this on March 29th. We’re the only NBA team to announce it thus far. 10 million media impressions! We did it along with the Washington Nationals, the baseball team. Within the NBA everyone told us this is their favorite jersey.

Hopefully fans will be able to purchase the new jerseys in Japan by the end of this year.

Washington Wizards with Rui Hachimura by Hersey Shiga

About  Rui Hachimura

The Wizards’ 24-year-old forward made history last year when he was taken as one of the team’s 9th overall picks in the NBA draft.

He was the first-ever Japanese-born player drafted in the first round of the NBA. Since then, Japan’s pride in basketball has been playing for the Wizards for the past three seasons.

Rui Hachimura also enthusiastically represented his hometown of Toyama at the Tokyo Olympics last year. He was the face of Team Japan, leading the first men’s basketball team the country has sent since 1976 at the Summer Olympics. He was the one who carried his country’s flag during the Opening Ceremonies of the Tokyo Games. 

Washington Wizards with Rui Hachimura by Hersey Shiga
Rui Hachimura Jerseys

For more information on the Washington Wizards, Rui Hachimura and commercial opportunities visit: Monumental Sports & Entertainment

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