My Twitter feed exploded with news of Koh Flippin joining the Ryukyu Golden Kings team. The 25 year old 6’2″ Torrance, California native (his mother is from Naha) comes to the Kings from the Chiba Jets and plays guard. I love his tweet announcing his joining the Kings: “Haisai! I’m Koh Flippin. Yutashiku!!”
A comment from Koh on the Kings’s website says “Okinawa is a special place for me that is my roots and and also my identity.”
We previously posted about the professional baseball team, Ryukyu Blue Oceans, and today we’re introducing a professional basketball team in Okinawa: the Ryukyu Golden Kings. Founded in 2007, they play home games at the beautiful Okinawa Arena and away games throughout Japan. The Golden Kings play in the top B1 West Conference of the B.League and have several players from Okinawa (the image above shows #3 point guard Namizato Narito). We’ll feature one more professional sports team in a future post (hint: it’s called by a different name depending on the region)!
I came across this website by accident while reading the latest Japanese baseball news from Japan Times and of course, it was the name of the team that caught my eye: Ryukyu Golden Kings (琉球ゴールデンキングス), a professional basketball team. I think their logo is rather cool too and will surely be picking up a t-shirt if I can find one.
The following is from their website:
The Ryukyu Golden Kings are Okinawa’s first ever professional basketball team. In fact, the Kings are Okinawa’s first ever professional sports team. In a day and age where sports have become ubiquitous in society, the birth of the Ryukyu Kings is a huge milestone for Okinawa. Chosen as an ideal franchise location because of its strong affinity for basketball, Okinawa boasts the largest percentage of middle school basketball players in the nation and has won the national tournament a record 6 times. In addition, the strong influence from the American presence on the island has helped boost the popularity of the sport. For example, NBA telecasts have been broadcast in Okinawa since the 1980s. Similarly, basketball fever is highest in Okinawa city, due in part to the nearby American bases.