The Buddha Remembers – Yuta Tabuse

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen comic series’ turn into real life movies with real life actors playing a role created by an illustrator, it brings our imaginary world into a realistic dream.

In Japan, a realistic dream came to life when Japanese basketball superstar Yuta Tabuse followed the path of fictional character Hinamichi Sakuragi from the Japanese manga ‘Slam Dunk’.


Japan’s Yuta Tabuse gets coaching from Canada’s Steve Nash.

[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]uta Tabuse is a trailblazer for Japanese basketball. In a country that sees baseball make international headlines, Tabuse and the ever so popular manga turned anime ‘Slam Dunk’ created a basketball indentity in Japan.

It was November of 2004 and the Phoenix Suns where at home to the Atlanta Hawks. The newly acquired all-star point guard Steve Nash was making an immediate impact for the Suns under head coach Mike D’antoni.

The Hawks were struggling to keep with the Suns’ new seven seconds or less system. They foun

d themselves down by 40 points with just over nine minutes to go in the final quarter.

At that moment, at that very moment a dream can true and a milestone was set.

Yuta Tabuse of Yokohama, Japan, checked into an NBA game. He was the first Japanese born player to ever touch foot on NBA hardwood.

Tabuse’s speed meshed well with the D’antoni system, however; the Suns backcourt was already loaded with the ‘Brazilian Blur’ Leoadro Barbosa and soon to be MVP Steve Nash.

Tabuse would see action in a total of four NBA games before being waived in December of that same year.

He then bounced around the D-League and got invites to various NBA training camps but due to his size (5’9) and lack of NBA experience he would find himself returning to his home country Japan where he lead his club team to the 2010 BJ League championship.

Tabuse serves as a basketball embassador in Japan. He is Idolized by the young Japanese hopefuls who someday hope to achieve the same goal once held by Tabuse.

The Buddha Remembers Yuta Tabuse.


Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of

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