As players get bigger, stronger and faster, it’s inevitable the world’s top athletes will need support from athletic trainers, strength coaches and therapists as they try to accomplish great feats.

Yusuke Nakayama is one the people the Cleveland Cavaliers’ players have turned to the past few years. As a member of the training staff, the native of Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, recently contributed to the Cavaliers’ emotional run to the NBA title as an athletic trainer/performance scientist.

“It took me a few seconds to realize that the game was really over,” Nakayama, 33, said in an email to The Japan Times about the moment his team captured the title with a thrilling win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on June 19.