Though he understands the reasons why, Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura can't help but be disappointed in the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, which were set to take place in Tokyo, Japan later this month.
Hachimura figured to play a prominent role for the host country, as one of Japan's most famous athletes and the best player on their basketball team. The plan is to play the games in 2021, still in Tokyo, and Hachimura hopes that remains the case despite continued uncertainty for all sporting events amid the coronavirus outbreak.
"I'm honestly so sad about it. We can't do anything about it," he said on Friday. "Of course, I would like to play in the Olympics. Next year, we'll see how things go."
Hachimura had participated in some lead-up press events for the 2020 Olympics representing his country in the months before coronavirus hit. But, really, he had been looking forward to the 2020 Olympics for many years.
Hachimura has already made history as the first Japanese-born player to get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Olympics this year were supposed to be another major step forward for the sport of basketball in Japan.
"Japan Olympics was one of my dreams to do. It was big to me. Ever since I started in basketball, they talked about the Olympics in 2020. Then, this happened," he said.
Hachimura should be able to still participate next year as long as the schedule works out. As of now, the NBA is aiming to begin the 2020-21 season in December. That would put them on track to end in time for Hachimura and other players to play in Tokyo.
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