Basketball / BJ-League

bj-league lifts ban on JT

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

The professional basketball bj-league has rescinded its ban on media access by The Japan Times with immediate effect. The ban was instituted on Oct. 11, 2013, and continued for more than 17 months.

The bj-league informed The Japan Times of the decision via e-mail on March 26. The move was done unconditionally, and The Japan Times now has access to media credentials for games and to players, coaches and executives for interviews.

The ban was issued in a dispute over an article by staff writer Ed Odeven on July 12, 2013, regarding the Kyoto Hannaryz and remained in place for the entire 2013-14 season and the current campaign.

In the story in question, Odeven cited an informed source as saying that at the time the Hannaryz were planning to play one more season in the bj-league before jumping to the newly formed National Basketball League. Both the Hannaryz and bj-league officials were given the opportunity to comment on the report before it was published.

In its initial letter of complaint, bj-league officials took issue with the story and asked for a correction and an apology to be run in print.

The Japan Times denied the request and stood by its story.

The Japan Times has covered the bj-league since its inception, beginning with the news conference announcing its formation in November 2004 in Tokyo. The newspaper has been the journal of record on league happenings ever since, chronicling both the highs and lows of the fledgling circuit, which boasts nearly 100 foreign players and coaches — more than any other pro sports league in the country.

Over the years the bj-league, which began with six teams for the inaugural 2005-06 season, has seen the likes of NBA coaches Bob Hill and Bill Cartwright, and former NBA players like Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and David Benoit, and now has 22 teams throughout the nation.

Next season, a franchise in Ishikawa Prefecture will become the circuit’s 23rd team.

The Japan Times continued bringing readers comprehensive coverage of action both on and off the court for the duration of the ban.

Game coverage with media credentials resumed this past weekend.