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Rui Hachimura: The First Japanese Basketball Player Selected in First Round of NBA Draft

2024-06-04

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Rui Hachimura

Rui Hachimura is the first Japanese basketball player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Rui Hachimura's position is a stretch four (combo forward) that combines small forward and power forward.

He is a versatile player who can score from both inside and outside, just like Rukawa in SLAM DUNK.

If you want to know more about SLAM DUNK, please click the following.

Of course, we expect to see more Japanese basketball players selected in the first round of the NBA draft in the future, and the first Japanese player to be selected in the first round is Rui Hachimura!

So, Rui Hachimura's name will surely be etched in the history of Japanese basketball.

Rui Hachimura is said to have a similar style of play to Kawhi Leonard and Rick Fox.

2009-2012: Rui Hachimura's Activities in Junior High School

Here are some of Rui Hachimura's middle school activities from 2009-2012.

Rui Hachimura played for Toyama City Okuda Junior High School from 2009-2012.

Here is a video of the final of the 2012 National Junior High School Basketball Tournament.

They lost the game 55-72 to Nishi-Fukuoka Junior High School, but finished as the runner-up!

Rui Hachimura (#6) scored 20 points.

Yudai Baba is two years older than Rui Hachimura in junior high school.

Here is the video of the interview when he was selected as a candidate for the Japan national team in 2019.

Senior and junior students from junior high school reunited as candidates for Japan national team!

2013-2016: Rui Hachimura's Activities in High School

Here is a look at Rui Hachimura's high school activities from 2013-2016.

Rui Hachimura was active at Meisei High School from 2013-2016.

Rui Hachimura won three consecutive inter-high school championships during his high school years.

He is the same as the first Japanese NBA player, Yuta Tabuse.

Here is a highlight video of Rui Hachimura in high school.

In the final of the 2013 Winter Cup, Meisei High School defeated Ohori High School Affiliated with Fukuoka University 92-78.

Rui Hachimura (#14) scored 32 points.

In the final of the 2014 Winter Cup, Meisei High School defeated Ohori High School Affiliated with Fukuoka University 71-69.

Rui Hachimura (#8) scored 31 points.

In the final of the 2015 Winter Cup, Meisei High School led by Rui hachimura defeated Tsuchiura Nihon University High School 78-73.

Rui Hachimura (#8) scored 34 points.

If you want to know more about Yuta Tabuse, please click the following.

2016-2019: Rui Hachimura's Activities in University

Here are some of Rui Hachimura's university years.

Rui Hachimura was active from 2016-2019 at Gonzaga University.

Below are Rui Hachimura's 3-year academic records.

YearPointsField Goal Percentage3P PercentageFree Throw Percentage
2016-20172.60.5280.2860.542
2017-201811.60.5680.1920.795
2018-201919.70.5910.4170.739

Now, let us introduce some of Rui Hachimura's activities in university.

2016-2017: Freshman of University

Here is a look at his performance as a university freshman in 2016-2017.

Rui Hachimura did not play many games as a freshman in university.

Because Jonathan Williams (#3) and Zach Collins (#32, 10th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft) were playing the same power forward position as Rui Hachimura at Gonzaga University, Rui Hachimura was positioned as the second reserve.

Although Rui Hachimura was not in the team's rotation, he chose on his own to register as a player rather than redshirt (a player who can participate in practice but not be registered as a player).

The decision to register was not made until the last minute, but it paid off and he was able to get some playing time.

A highlight video of Rui Hachimura's freshman year of university is below!

Gonzaga University was the runner-up in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.

Video of the final game, Gonzaga University vs. UNC, is below.

Rui Hachimura was not in the game, but can be seen in the video at 0.45 and 3:18 of the scene showing the Gonzaga University bench.

Gonzaga University lost to UNC 65-71 (UNC for the win!).

Here is the full video.

2017-2018: Sophomore of University

As a sophomore, he played as a six-man.

He contributed significantly to the team with an average of 11.6 points, up from 2.6 the previous year.

2018-2019: Junior of University

As a junior of university, he was a member of the starting five.

He was the team's ace, averaging 19.7 points, up significantly from 11.6 the previous year.

He received the Julius Erving Award (awarded to the No. 1 university small forward in United States) as a junior of university (2019).

In his three years of university, Rui Hachimura has grown by leaps and bounds from second reserve, to six-man, to the No. 1 small forward in United States!

Rui Hachimura's Activities in NBA

We're going to go ahead and take a look at what Rui Hachimura has done in his NBA activities.

He was selected by Washington Wizards in the first round, 9th overall, of the 2019 NBA Draft.

He became the first Japanese basketball player to be selected in the first round of NBA Draft.

He is the first Japanese player to be selected in the draft since Yasutaka Okayama, the 10th pick in the 8th round (240th overall) of the 1981 NBA Draft!

2019-2023: Activities of Washington Wizards

Here is a look at Rui Hachimura's activities of Washington Wizards from 2019-2023.

Rui Hachimura's number is #8.

October 7, 2019: NBA Preseason Debut against New York Knicks

The NBA preseason game against New York Knicks on October 7, 2019 was his debut.

Rui Hachimura scored 12 points!

Washington Wizards lost to New York Knicks 99-104.

October 23, 2019: NBA Regular Season Debut against Dallas Mavericks

His debut was against Dallas Mavericks in an NBA regular season game on October 23, 2019.

Rui Hachimura had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Washington Wizards lost to Dallas Mavericks 100-108.

December 1, 2019: Career-High 30 Points against Los Angeles Clippers

He scored a career-high 30 points against Los Angeles Clippers on December 1, 2019!

December 14, 2019: First Japanese NBA Players to face off against Each Other

On December 14, 2019, Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards) faced off against Yuta Watanabe (Memphis Grizzlies) in the first ever matchup between two Japanese NBA players.

Here is the highlight video of Rui Hachimura.

At 0:54, Yuta Watanabe (#18 in white jersey) plays nice defense on Rui Hachimura (#8 in red jersey).

In this highlight video of Rui Hachimura, Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe exchange jerseys at 3:59.

If you want to know more about Yuta Watanabe, please click the following.

February 14, 2020: 14 Points, 7 Rebounds, and 4 Assists at NBA All-Star Game's Rising Stars Challenge

He played in Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Game on February 14, 2020.

The Rising Stars Challenge is a rivalry between teams made up of first-year and second-year NBA players.

In 2020, the teams were divided into Team World and Team USA.

Rui Hachimura had 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists for Team World.

Team World lost to Team USA 131-151.

July-August 2020: Activities in NBA Seeding Games

The 2020 NBA will be temporarily suspended on March 12, 2020 in COVID-19 and will resume on July 31, 2020 at the Bubble, "a Walt Disney World facility in Bay Lake, Florida".

After the reunion, a new NBA seeding game (a game to determine the playoffs) was held at the Bubble in July-August 2020.

Because Washington Wizards had a number of departures due to injuries, Rui Hachimura played an ace role in the seeding game!

Here is a highlight video of Rui Hachimura scoring a team-high 23 points against New Orleans Pelicans on August 7, 2020.

March 30, 2021: Tied His Career High with 30 Points against Charlotte Hornets

He tied his career high with 30 points against the Charlotte Hornets on March 30, 2021!

Washington Wizards lost to Charlotte Hornets 104-114.

April 28, 2021: Poster Dunk against Anthony Davis

He scored a poster dunk against Anthony Davis on April 28, 2021 against Los Angeles Lakers!

Awesome!

Rui Hachimura's 12 points, including a poster dunk, propelled Washington Wizards to a 116-107 victory over Los Angeles Lakers.

May 31, 2021: First Japanese Player Wins First NBA Playoff Game against Philadelphia 76ers

On May 31, 2021, the first Japanese player won his first NBA playoff game against Philadelphia 76ers!

Rui Hachimura had 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 assists as Washington Wizards defeated Philadelphia 76ers 122-114.

January 9, 2022: First Appearance after Mental Health Issues against Orlando Magic

He made his first appearance after mental health issues on January 9, 2022 against Orlando Magic.

The mental health issue was right after Tokyo Olympics in August/September 2021, so it was also his first appearance of the 2021-2022 season.

"I'm back."

Rui Hachimura's 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist helped Washington Wizards to a 102-100 win over Orlando Magic.

January 21, 2022: Second Japanese NBA Player to Face Yuta Watanabe in Game against Toronto Raptors

This is the second meeting between Yuta Watanabe and a Japanese NBA player on January 21, 2022 against Toronto Raptors!

Washington Wizards lost to Toronto Raptors 105-109.

March 26, 2022: Poster Dunk on Isaiah Stewart against Detroit Pistons

He did a poster dunk on Isaiah Stewart against Detroit Pistons on March 26, 2022.

Rui Hachimura's 11 points and 5 rebounds helped Washington Wizards to a 100-97 victory over Detroit Pistons.

October 8 and 10, 2022: NBA Japan Games 2022

He participated in the NBA Japan Games 2022 held on October 8 and 10, 2022!

These are games with NBA's Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards.

Rui Hachimura participated in the NBA Japan Games for the first time as a Japanese player!

If you want to know more about Rui Hachimura's performance in the NBA Japan Games 2022, please click the following.

November 4, 2022: 2 Points and 2 Rebounds against Brooklyn Nets (against Yuta Watanabe)

He had 2 points and 2 rebounds against Brooklyn Nets on November 4, 2022.

He had a Japanese matchup with Yuta Watanabe of Brooklyn Nets!

Washington Wizards lost to Brooklyn Nets 86-128.

2023-Present: Activities of Los Angeles Lakers

Here are some of his activities during his time with Los Angeles Lakers from 2023 to the present.

Rui Hachimura's number is #28.

The reason why Rui Hachimura chose the number #28 is related to Kobe Bryant, a legend of the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Kobe Bryant's daughter Gianna's number #2
  • Kobe Bryant's number #8 (*There was a time when he was number #24)

Combining the above numbers, Rui Hachimura chose the number #28!

January 25, 2023: 12 Points and 6 Rebounds in His Debut Game for Los Angeles Lakers against San Antonio Spurs

He had 12 points and 6 rebounds in his debut game as a member of Los Angeles Lakers on January 25, 2023 against San Antonio Spurs.

Rui Hachimura's performance helped Los Angeles Lakers to a 113-104 victory over San Antonio Spurs.

January 30, 2023: Japanese Face-Off with Yuta Watanabe against Brooklyn Nets

It's a Japanese showdown with Yuta Watanabe on January 30, 2023 against Brooklyn Nets!

This was Rui Hachimura's first matchup with Yuta Watanabe since joining the Los Angeles Lakers!

Rui Hachimura scored 16 points.

Los Angeles Lakers lost to Brooklyn Nets 104-121.

April 16, 2023: Scored Team-High 29 Points against Memphis Grizzlies

He scored a team-high 29 points against Memphis Grizzlies on April 16, 2023.

Thanks to the efforts of Rui Hachimura, Los Angeles Lakers defeated Memphis Grizzlies 128-112.

December 9, 2023: Won In-Season Tournament Final against Indiana Pacers, 123-109

They won the championship with a 123-109 victory over Indiana Pacers in the in-season tournament final on December 9, 2023!

This is the first NBA title for Rui Hachimura!

February 14, 2024: Scored Career-High 36 Points against Utah Jazz

He scored a career-high 36 points against Utah Jazz on February 14, 2024.

Rui Hachimura's performance helped Los Angeles Lakers to a 138-122 win over Utah Jazz.

Rui Hachimura's Activities of Japan National Team

The following is an introduction to Rui Hachimura's activities of Japan national team.

August 12, 2014: U-17 Japan vs. United States

Japan vs. USA in the U-17 World Championships held in Dubai on August 12, 2014.

Rui Hachimura scored 25 goals against United States team and was the leading scorer.

It is believed that his performance in this game led him to Gonzaga University.

July 2019: Japan vs. United States at World Cup

Rui Hachimura represented Japan at the World Cup in July 2019 against United States.

Here's the dunk he scored off the block of NBA block king Myles Turner, which you can watch at 2:48!

July-August 2021: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Rui Hachimura was the flag bearer for Japan national team at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games!

The Relationship between Rui Hachimura and Michael Jordan

The following is an introduction to the relationship between Rui Hachimura and Michael Jordan.

Comparison of University Years

The following table shows the university activities of Rui Hachimura and Michael Jordan.

In university, Rui Hachimura played similarly to Michael Jordan.

ItemRui HachimuraMichael Jordan
UniversityGonzaga UniversityThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)
AchievementsRunner-up in 2017 NCAA Tournament.Championship in 1982 NCAA Tournament.*
Awards2019 All-WCC First-Team.
2019 All-American First-Team, WCC MVP, Julius Erving Award.
1984: National Player of the Year,Olympic Gold Medalist.*
Number2123

* The others are omitted because there are too many.

Comparison of NBA Years

The following table compares the NBA success of Michael Jordan and Rui Hachimura (as of 2024).

Michael Jordan has retired, but we hope that Rui Hachimura will continue to grow and make many achievements and awards in the NBA.

ItemRui HachimuraMichael Jordan
University9th in 20193rd in 1984
TeamsWashington Wizards, Los Angeles LakersChicago Bulls, Washington Wizards
AchievementsWinner of One NBA in-season tournament6 NBA Championships (2 triple crowns in a row)*
Awards2020 NBA All-Rookie Second Team5 NVA Season MVP 5, 6 NBA Final MVP, 10 NBA Point Leader*
Number8, 2823, 12, 45

* The others are omitted because there are too many.

Contract with Jordan Brand

Rui Hachimura's success at Gonzaga University was recognized by Michael Jordan, which led to his signing with Jordan Brand in June 2019.

Here are the reasons why we think Rui Hachimura was able to sign with Jordan Brand.

Few basketball players have made it this far in university!

  • He was an ace at Gonzaga University in 2019
  • Won the Julius Erving Award in 2019
  • Selected by Washington Wizards in the 2019 NBA Draft with the 9th pick in the first round

When Rui Hachimura signed with Jordan Brand, Michael Jordan (MJ) told him in English, "Welcome to Jordan Family! Awesome!

Rui Hachimura's number was #21 in university, but since Dwight Howard wore it for 2019 Washington Wizards, it could have been #23, the same number as Michael Jordan's, as his other number.

In the end, Rui Hachimura's number became #8, so he did not take over Michael Jordan's number #23, but it is an event that shows the connection between Rui Hachimura and Michael Jordan.

Products of Rui Hachimura

The following is an introduction to the products of Rui Hachimura.

Air Jordans by Rui Hachimura

Here are some Air Jordans by Rui Hachimura

This is a Player's Exclusive (PE: a model with a player's name) of the Air Jordan 34 by Rui Hachimura.

It is amazing that he is the first Japanese to have his name on the Air Jordan series!

These shoes have an asymmetrical design, with a Japanese cherry blossom print on the right foot and an ethnic Benin pattern on the left foot.

Click the following to watch the Air Jordan introduction video that traces the roots of Rui Hachimura.

As of 2024, Air Jordan 34, Air Jordan 35, Air Jordan 36, Air Jordan 38 of Rui Hachimura are available!

You can also look for them on StockX!

StockX

G-Shock

This is a video of the G-SHOCK signature model "GST-B100RH-1A" supervised by Rui Hachimura.

This is a video of the second G-Shock Rui Hachimura model "GM-110RH".

The second G-Shock Rui Hachimura model "GM-110RH" can be purchased the following at Amazon.com.

G-Shock Rui Hachimura model "GM-110RH"

Our Founder/CEO&CTO Hiroyuki Chishiro's Collection of Rui Hachimura's Goods

The Rui Hachimura merchandise our founder/CEO&CTO Hiroyuki Chishiro has is a one-of-a-kind jersey of Rui Hachimura from his Washington Wizards days, with an original design added!

He received it at the "nao no hako" event in Japan!

AWESOME!

Summary

We introduced Rui Hachimura, the first Japanese basketball player selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

We have learned about Rui Hachimura's activities in junior high school, high school, university, NBA, and Japan national team.

In addition, Rui Hachimura has achieved results and accomplishments similar to Michael Jordan's in university.

It will be interesting to see how Rui Hachimura develops in the NBA.

In the future, we hope he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in both Japan and United States!

If you want NBA goods, please go to NBA Store!

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