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JBA grants professional recognition to BJ League

Date Posted: 2010-03-24

It took nearly five years, but the Japan Basketball Association has finally recognized the Basketball Japan League as a professional sports league.

The decision to recognize the 13-team league means its players now have the opportunity to try out for the national basketball team. Until now, the Japan Basketball League run by the Japan Basketball Association has been the only recognized professional league by the sport’s national governing body.

The BJ-League began in Fall 2005 with six teams, including two former JBL teams, the Saitama Broncos and the Niigata Albirex BB. As the fledgling league expanded to 13 teams, requests for recognition had been rebuffed by the JBA. Only JBL players could join the national team.

“We are very happy that the JBA is approving the BJ-League, and registration of the BJ-League teams and players to the JBA, said BJ-League Commissioner Toshimitsu Kawachi. “It opens the door for our players to join the national team, and that will encourage our players.”

The BJ-League commissioner promised the league would cooperate with the JBA to strengthen Japan’s team and to promote the popularity of basketball in the country.

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