The Japan Basketball Association announced on Saturday it has finalized the process of giving recognition to the bj-league, opening the door for the 13-team league to have its players try out for the national team.
In other words, the bj-league is now under the JBA’s organizational umbrella and is a recognized professional league. The established JBL, run by the JBA, had been the only recognized pro league by the sport’s national governing body.
The bj-league, which began in the fall of 2005 with six teams (including two former JBL teams, the Saitama Broncos and Niigata Albirex BB), was not recognized by the national governing body since it was established. Year after year, new bj-league teams have been added, and players and coaches from the young league have expressed disgust about the slow process of gaining acceptance from the JBA.
In the past, only JBL players could join the national team.
“We are very happy that the JBA is to approve the bj-league, and registration of the bj-league teams and players to the JBA,” bj-league commissioner Toshimitsu Kawachi said in a statement. “It opens the door for the players to join the national team, which will encourage our players. We will cooperate with the JBA to strengthen Japan’s team and spread the popularity of basketball more in Japan.”