Wizards Rookie Rui Hachimura Has the Best-Selling NBA Jersey in Japan
Japan can’t get enough of Rui Hachimura. The Washington Wizards rookie not only leads the NBA in jersey sales in his home country, but his No. 8 accounts for nearly one of every four replicas sold there.
The NBA announced this week that the 22-year-old native of Toyama, Japan has paced his peers with 24 percent of all such sales. That’s helped the Wizards become the second-most popular team in terms of merchandising there, with 13 percent of all sales. The Los Angeles Lakers rank No. 1, thanks to the ongoing popularity of LeBron James (No. 2 in Japanese jersey sales) and Anthony Davis (No. 7).
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (No. 3), Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets (No. 4) and Houston Rockets MVP candidate James Harden (No. 5) round out the top five. The rankings reflect e-commerce sales from the NBA’s online store in Japan, which is operated by Fanatics, between the start of the 2019-20 season and the end of January.
Rui taking the top spot in Japan is just the latest indication of his groundbreaking popularity and marketability. The Gonzaga product, who became the first Japanese-born player ever taken in the first round of the NBA draft last year, has already secured a long list of endorsements and partnerships both foreign (NEC, G-Shock, SoftBank, Nissin Foods) and domestic (Jordan Brand, GOAT).
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.