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“I Thought I Might Not Belong”- Yuta Watanabe Talks About Facing Japanese Stereotypes in NBA

"Yeah, I’m not going to lie. There was a time I thought I might not belong to this league."

Things have been going well for Yuta Watanabe in NBA with him getting exposure with the Nets. The Nets forward became the top shooter in the league with 57.1 percent. Being only the second player of Japanese descent in the game sure brings in lots of unadulterated opinions and attention to one’s game. And Yuta in his recent interaction showed how the opinions affected him and his time in the coveted league.

Expressing how representing his roots, particularly rare in NBA as yet, Watanabe included Rui Hachimura in the conversation. “I think it’s really important for us to represent our country. When I was growing up, and I said I wanted to be an NBA player,” Watanabe said. “Only one Japanese guy made it to the league, so it’s almost impossible. You can’t do that.” I wanted to change those people’s perceptions. I wanted to change how they thought about themselves and the Japanese. And I think more people started watching the NBA. I hope a lot of kids right now are starting to dream of being an NBA player,” he added.

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Yuta Watanabe Talks About ‘Not Belonging Here”

Yuta has surely engraved a spot for himself in the league. However, he expressed how he felt out of place in NBA back in the time. “Yeah, I’m not going to lie. There was a time I thought I might not belong to this league. My family, friends, teammates, and coaching staff always encouraged me to keep my head up. I wouldn’t be here without those people who I’ve met on my journey. I really appreciate everything they’ve done for me,” Yuta expressed.

Yuta Watanabe started his NBA career in 2018 via Memphis Grizzlies. Subsequently, he made it into Toronto Raptors and clinched a few minutes’ worth of gameplay. However, now though still on a non-guaranteed contract, Watanabe is blooming as the top shooter in the league playing as the forward for Brooklyn Nets. Currently, Watanabe sits atop the three-point shooting percentage list with  60.9 percent from the field.

Ayushi Singh
Ayushi Singhhttp://thesportslite.com
Ayushi is a Journalism and Mass Communication undergraduate. An avid sports enthusiast, with an inclination towards Cricket. Likes to be well informed, as she likes to be well read. Will be found indulging in a book if not in India's 2011 WC win highlights.
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