When the New Jersey Nets came to Tokyo

Going through some old boxes during the holidays I came across this old press pass which has a funny story behind it which I’ll share for posterity.

In 1996, the then New Jersey Nets came to Tokyo to play against the Orlando Magic. The NBA was reaching to Japan to expand awareness of the sport and this was the fourth time two NBA teams traveled to Japan to play a regular season game in front of a Japanese crowd. Shaq had recently decamped for the Los Angeles Lakers but the Magic was still the team to watch with Penny Hardaway as the man to watch.

My friend Kimiaki Tanaka was a reporter for China Television and called me in the morning to ask if I wanted to join her at the game and tag along as her “cameraman.” I didn’t have a proper camera beyond a small Olympus Mju so there I was, down under the basket, at the Tokyo Dome, with all the other international press and their 400 mm zoom lenses.

Here are a couple of photos from that I found from that roll of film. I don’t think I’ll ever get that close to a professional game again.

Flash forward 26 years and my son Tyler is working at what is now the Brooklyn Nets and seeing many games (one of the benefits in working for the team). He did make it courtside recently and caught these photos of, you guessed it, the Nets going up against the Magic.

These are just screenshots. It’s 2022 so we have video!


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