Saying sayonara to France in the semis, host nation Japan have booked their place in the basketball gold medal game for Tokyo 2020.
They’ll meet Team USA in the finals who are even more dominant than Durant and Co, as Taurasi and Bird go for their fifth straight gold.
This team have been at the the top of the women’s basketball podium since the year Kobe was drafted and ‘Independence Day’ was playing in cinemas during the summer of ’96 in Atlanta.
The last time they came up with a medal that wasn’t painted like ‘Goldfinger’ (bronze) was in the same year the Dream Team was born in Barcelona (1992) and game tape was literally watched on VCR.
Yet none of that matters as of right now.
Japan’s national team at home under the rising sun have had a Cinderella run and I don’t see any silver in this glass slipper.
The ceiling is cracking and I believe in an upset like all those fans with tickets who can’t find their seats.
Forget home court advantage. How about home country advantage? You can never underestimate the heart of an underdog. Even in the face of a seemingly countless champion.
You just never know either. It would for sure make for one great sport story and happy ending for a global game and a country compromised in these games.
All eyes in Tokyo 2020 were on Japan’s very own Naomi Osaka serving up the flame and Washington Wizard Rui Hachimura carrying the flag. Leading the way and teaming up with the Toronto Raptors’ Yuta Watanabe to go to battle with everyone like the pair do over here in Japan when it comes to jersey sales.
But both the tennis ace and home basketball team dynamic duo took early exits this year like the bubble burst Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers in this years playoffs.
Nevertheless that didn’t mean that Japanese basketball was off the map, or the floor. And we aren’t just talking about how they hit the concrete court in the legacy beginning 3×3 tournament making its Olympic debut here in Tokyo.
Just like this sport and these Olympics, this game from the hardwood to the blacktop is so much more than merely a man’s world.
Rui Hachimura may be gone, but Rui Machida has arrived. Her Olympic game-high assist record of 18 handed France a 87-71 drubbing. It was a cakewalk. A lay-up. The coach of France’s face a picture. A team hasn’t been worked this much this week aside from The Diplomats as Machida played Jadakiss to Japan’s Lox.
You can’t deny a raspy flow and now it’s Japan versus US again for the hosts first finals.
The last time these two basketball nations played in these Olympics, the previously unbeaten USA got upset by the hosts in the 3-on-3.
Japan have also, already been collecting more medals than Pokemon characters in these games and you know what they say. You’ve got to catch them all.
This one could mean so much more.
Sure, in all reality nobody is beating a Team USA that shows the WNBA is stacked like chips in Vegas, or all the Aces who will have a hand in this. The USA look to do the double after Kelsey Plum and then won the very first historic 3×3.
I wouldn’t bet against not one, but two GOAT’s.
But then again all reigns must come to an end.
There’s nothing wrong with silver either though, as people have been campaigning in these contests for everyone to have their pride of place. It’s one thing to even be an Olympian, but to be on the podium is a whole new height.
Now this weekend will Japan be looking up at an idol or down on all their accomplishments?
The torch is lit and Japan’s fire isn’t going out.
Get ready for some heat in this humid summer Sunday in the Far East.