Wizards Rookie Rui Hachimura to Be Global Ambassador For Casio G-Shock
Rui Hachimura was a marketing machine before he ever set foot in the NBA. But now that he’s started the 2019-20 season strong with the Washington Wizards, the Japanese-born rookie out of Gonzaga is reeling in deals. Rui recently added a partnership with Casio—to promote the company’s G-Shock watches—to a list of seven endorsements that includes global deals with Jordan Brand, Nissin Foods, NBA 2K and NEC, as well as ones in Japan with SoftBank and SMBC.
“I’ve always had an affinity for G-Shock since a young age, and I’m happy to be able to support it because it’s a brand I always wore during my school days,” Rui said in a promotional video, per a translation on Hypebeast. “This season will be the most important part of my basketball career. It’s a good time, so I want to face every game with the same ‘toughness’ as G-Shock.”
The 21-year-old from Toyama became the first Japanese-born player to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft when the Wizards took him at No. 9 this past June. As one of his home country’s two current representatives connected to the Association—alongside Memphis Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe, who has spent most of his young career in the G League—Rui’s play on the court figures to have an outsized impact on what he’s able to accomplish off of it.
The 6’8” forward is already playing a pivotal role in strengthening the game of basketball back home. That's especially true ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where he’s expected to compete with the Japanese men’s national basketball team.
And, as his new pact with G-Shock makes clear, Rui is perfectly positioned to reap the benefits of being a bridge across the Pacific for his sport of choice. According to Forbes, he could earn $10 million off the court this season—more than double his $4.5 million rookie salary with the Wizards—with help from his co-agents at Wasserman Media Group, Jason Ranne and Darren Matsubara. That would put him second behind only New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson among this year's rookie class and within the top dozen earners in the entire league.
Per Forbes, Rui will eventually have his own signature watch with Casio. If he proves to be a star on the court, where he averaged 12.6 points and 6.0 rebounds through his first seven games as a pro, he may well wind up with his own sneaker, too.
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.