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The Washington Wizards broke new ground on June 20, 2019, when they picked Rui Hachimura at No. 9 in the 2019 NBA Draft — the first time a Japanese player had ever been chosen in the top 10.

One day later, when Japanese media outlets swarmed the U.S. capital for Hachimura’s introductory news conference, Wizards officials began to realize the impact of his arrival would stretch far beyond Capital One Arena.

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