While looking for some blogs about whether or not people think the Golden State Warriors are, at this rate, going to get into the NBA playoffs (I personally don't think so -- to finish, say, 4 games above .500 and if they keep going barely above the Mendoza line on the road at .250 or so, they would have to finish 16-3 in their final 19 home games and there are at least 4 elite teams left to play at home), I ran across this post at The City blog:
Tabuse is the first Japanese-born NBA player, but certainly not the first Japanese player.
"Notable players on [Warriors draft pick Patrick O'Bryant's NBDL Bakersfield Jam team] are Syracuse PG Gerry McNamara and Yuta Tabuse — the first Japanese player to play in the NBA."Well, we know from A-Mac's history lesson about Wataru "Wat" Misaka, former Utah Ute national champion and New York Knickerbocker, that that's not true!
Tabuse was the first Japanese-born player in the NBA, but obviously not the first Japanese player, so I wondered if numerous other articles about him were not quite correct.
The sixth item from a Google search on "yuta tabuse first japanese nba" yielded an article from 12/2005 by Jeremy Fowler of the Albuquerque Tribune that begins "Yuta Tabuse has groupies...", so of course I had to click on it.
Sure enough, Fowler had it wrong by calling Tabuse "a groundbreaker - the first-ever Japanese player to ever run up and down an NBA court". No mention of Misaka, unfortunately. Maybe we dreamleaguers can help fix that from now on.
Incidentally, it is a great article with the following funny interesting tidbits:
Anyways, back to the punchline...
- "'I'm 5-foot-9 and that's with my shoes on,' said Tabuse." He seems to be a humble guy.
- "Hiromi Williams (right) and her 2-year-old son, Daniel, watch the player warm up." I'm off on a tangent here, but there's a picture of Ms. Williams and she's very Japanese-looking, which brings to mind my first job at Andersen Consulting, where we worked with a South Asian guy named Prem, short for Preminderjeet or similarly-sounding many-syllabled Indian name. Prem had a full-on Indian accent to boot. So my co-worker Matt was almost in shock when Prem revealed his otherwise ordinary-sounding last name: Williams. Prem Williams. Matt was soon after practically ROFL (rolling on the floor, laughing -- special thank you to our web guru and IM-hooked Terry August for the acronym). Wouldn't it be funny if Hiromi's husband turned out to be Prem?!
- That picture of Tabuse in the locker room. He looks a like a kid or _________ (fill in the name of any small, quick point guard dreamleaguer playing in our Asian leagues).
- "Tabuse never lost a high school game, averaging 25 points a contest and playing in front of 10,000 or more fans." Ten THOUSAND?! Damn!!!
- "If not for BYU-Hawaii's English-speaking program, Tabuse said he might have stayed in Japan."
- "The first syllable of his name, Yu, means brave in Japanese."
So we Asian-American dreamleaguers should correct people, especially sportswriters, so they know the first Japanese -- or for that matter, Asian -- NBA player was really Wat the Ute, not Yuta the Tabuse (although we really like him).
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