Hachimura Becomes 1st Japanese Picked in NBA Draft 1st Round
New York, June 20 (Jiji Press)--Gonzaga University forward Rui Hachimura became the first Japanese-born player ever to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft on Thursday.
The Washington Wizards picked Hachimura, 21, with the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft held in New York. NBA legend Michael Jordan once played two seasons for the team, based in the U.S. capital.
"It means a lot for me, my family and whole my country. I'm so thankful," Hachimura said when asked about the honor of becoming the first Japanese player selected in the first round.
Hachimura is the second Japanese to be picked in an NBA draft after Yasutaka Okayama, who was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the eighth round in the 1981 draft. Okayama did not join the team.
In April, Hachimura, currently in his junior year at the U.S. university, announced his decision to become an early entry NBA draft candidate.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]