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Japanese All-Stars playing in Okinawa

Date Posted: 2007-01-25

Professional basketball is coming to Okinawa.

Japanese professional basketball, the BJ League, will play its first ever All Star game Saturday afternoon at Ginowan City Gym. The eight-team league was founded in 2005 with six teams located in Sendai, Nigata, Tokyo, Saitama, Osaka and Oita.

The BJ League added Takamatsu and Toyama this year. Okinawa and Fukuoka will join the league next season. A final two teams, bringing the league total to 12, will be decided within the coming year.

Advance tickets for Saturday’s contest presented by All Nippon Airways are sold out, but general admission tickets may be still available at the door. All-Star organizers say the game may also be watched on BS Fuji, Channel 181, or online at www.basketballjapan.tv.

A two -hour pre-game show kicks off with team warm ups at 1:30pm, as the arena opens to the public.

A Mini Basketball game with Ginowan City’s basketball teams kicks off at 2:10pm. Local rhythm and blues musician Kiyotaka Ishikawa will perform at the halftime, approximately 2:35pm, followed by a marching performance by the Nishihara High School Marching Band. BJ League Commissioner Toshimitsu Kawauchi will speak at 2:50pm.

A three-point contest sponsored by Ryukyu Shimpo begins at 3:05pm, followed by a freestyle attraction and FMS Presents Dunk Contests. The Kadena High School cheerleaders perform at 3:50pm.

Player introductions begin at 3:53pm, followed by Diamantes vocalist Albert Shiroma’s singing of the national anthem. Okinawa’s governor, Hirokazu Nakaima, will perform the ceremonial first ball tip off at 4:09pm. D-51 will perform live at halftime.

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