Basketball / B. League

Brave Thunders announce special jersey games, plans to build new arena

by Kaz Nagatsuka

Staff Writer

The Kawasaki Brave Thunders are serious about capturing titles this year, and have played well so far, tying the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins for the curent best record in the 18-team B. League.

But the Central Division club does not take anything for granted, knowing there’s still a lot of basketball to play this season.

The Brave Thunders announced on Wednesday that they would provide something of a special atmosphere in a two-game home series on Dec. 28-29 at Todoroki Arena with the purpose of recharging their energy to make a run toward the remainder of the campaign as well as the annual single-elimination All-Japan Championship.

Kawasaki will host the Shiga Lakestars in the two contests, competing in a jersey that will be specially designed for the series. The club will give away the replica jerseys to 10,000 fans that come to the games.

Brave Thunders president Nobuo Motozawa noted at a news conference that his club has gotten off to an 8-2 start in the 2019-20 season, but said that he is sure that it would have some challenges down the road.

“The B. League season is long,” Motozawa said. “The regular season will continue for half a year, until April (for 60 games), and we are certainly not thinking we will be continuing to win as we have.

“Our opponents will try to expose us while we are possibly going to have players that fall into a slump. We expect we will have tough times at least once or twice over the course of the season. Our entire organization doesn’t consider that winning the league championship is an easy task to achieve.”

The Brave Thunders, who are considered a powerhouse yet have not won the title since the inception of the B. League in 2016, will shoot for the crown in the All-Japan Championship, which is widely known as the Emperor’s Cup. The team was eliminated in the first round of the B. League playoffs last season.

“We would like it to give us a boost toward the Emperor’s Cup title and the second half of the season,” Motozawa said, referring to the series against the Lakestars.

Meanwhile, the Brave Thunders are currently looking to build a new arena, which is expected to be more suitable for hosting sporting events including basketball. The facility will be owned by the city of Kawasaki.

The club is currently working on the details, including the location. Motozawa hinted that there are two options under consideration and the arena would be able to hold at least 8,000 fans. He said that the club is hoping to get the deal done and announce the location this season or after the postseason.

Motozawa, a former executive for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, said that the team would start playing in the new arena in about five years.

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