The Lakers are making moves ahead of the trade deadline, and they seemed to have brought in a new Lakers Nation and international fan favorite.
We remember when Chinese-American sensation Jeremy Lin’s “Linsanity” took New York basketball by storm and his popularity became so problematic that star Carmelo Anthony wanted him gone.
Rui Hachimura is a Japanese-born basketball player and was recently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Washington Wizards, and he doesn’t have to deal with the hate from being an international celebrity because his presence alone brought millions of eyes to the Lakers that LeBron could never culturally attract.
This was a trade that the Lakers desperately needed to infuse some youth and length into the team, especially with Anthony Davis constantly injured.
The talk surrounding Hachimura and his young stint with the Lakers is the attraction he’s generating, especially from Japan.
According to multiple sources, the Japanese-born hooper’s Lakers debut crashed Japanese servers due to fans from his home country wanting to watch him play on the most globally recognizable basketball franchise.
The new 24-year-old Los Angeles Laker was set to debut against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, and plenty of Japanese fans tried to access the game through the Rakuten website. This caused too much traffic for the servers to handle, which resulted in the streaming service crashing.
Rakuten, which is the association’s official streaming service in Japan since 2017, issued a statement about the website crash.
“Starting around 12:20 PM Japan Time on Thursday, January 26, the NBA Rakuten site became inaccessible when a sudden surge in user traffic caused a server issue,” The Sun reported.
While Rakuten was experiencing these problems, the game was up and available on YouTube in the meantime.
Eventually, the issue was fixed, according to Rakuten, and the service has returned to normal.
This is a groundbreaking event, considering how much the NBA has tried to branch it’s outreach in the past to other countries and nations. Having someone like Rui Hachimura playing for the Lakers is a huge opportunity to do so.
Who Is Rui Hachimura?
Even more interesting is that Rui Hachimura is the first Japanese player in Lakers history.
Hachimura was taken in the 2019 draft with the ninth overall pick in the first round by the Washington Wizards, the team that eventually traded him to the Lakers.
His time in Washington was spent as a solid role player for them who started plenty of games in his first two seasons before he began coming off the bench for most of his games last season, which led to him spending his whole season as a rotational piece off of the bench this season.
Hachimura averaged 13 points per game over the three-and-a-quarter seasons he spent with Washington and initially started off as a pivotal player for their future core. A core that featured Bradley Beal, Deni Advija, Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle Kuzma.
Missing a lot of games last year mixed in with the emergence of Kyle Kuzma as a star for this team next to certified starter Porzingis, erased a lot of minutes for Hachimura. This played a part in his being traded to the Lakers, who desperately needed some youth and size to throw in the rotation and develop.
Hachimura was traded for Kendrick Nunn and a plethora of second-round picks. He now joins a team that can’t quite decide if they want to win now or wait until their playoff lives are in jeopardy with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Hachimura Did Well In First Lakers Game
In his debut with the Lakers against the Spurs, he did not disappoint. The 6-foot-8 wing ended his night with 12 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
Maybe this new move will work out for him and he’ll have more opportunities to elevate into a young stud for the Lakers and be there for the long haul after LeBron departs and if AD can’t hold up.