Wizards' Rui Hachimura looked forward to representing Japan but understands decision to postpone Olympics

Ethan Cadeaux
NBC Sports Washington

This coming July, Wizards forward Rui Hachimura was set to make his Olympic Games debut, playing for Team Japan during the summer's Tokyo Games.

But on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee announced that due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Games would be postponed to a date no later than the summer of 2021.

Hachimura, who played for Japan's senior national team for the first time during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, took to Instagram in the wake of the IOC's decision to postpone the Tokyo Games.

The Wizards rookie explained he was looking forward to representing his home country, but supports and understands the decision to temporarily push back the Olympic Games in order to prioritize everyone's safety.

"I am a competitor and was looking forward to representing Japan in the Olympics this summer, but I also understand and support the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021," Hachimura wrote. "The world is facing a very difficult challenge and everyone's focus needs to be on health and safety. Every Olympic athlete will be motivated to perform for the world next year and I believe it will be an even greater celebration of both sport and life in my home country after the world overcomes this pandemic. Let's all work together to make that happen!"

While many expect the Olympic Games to be next summer, there is no set date for them just yet. 

The Olympics typically take place during the NBA's offseason, allowing plenty of the league's stars to compete in the Games. But with the current NBA season on pause and the hope that the 2019-20 campaign can continue in a couple of months, next year's NBA schedule could look a little different as well. This would mean that Hachimura and other NBA players wishing to compete in next year's Olympics may not have the chance to do so. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has stated there's a chance this year's NBA Finals could be played in July, and perhaps even August, depending on when it's deemed safe to play again. That means the 2020-21 NBA season would also be pushed back, likely with a start around Christmas time. Thus, if the NBA wanted to play another 82-game season next year, the playoffs would likely take place throughout the summertime, potentially overlapping with the Olympics.

This year's Olympic Games were expected to begin on July 24. If such is the case next year, it could be difficult for NBA players, who just finished their seasons a matter of days or weeks prior, to make the trip to Japan to compete.

Only time will tell for this scenario, as everyone's safety remains the main priority right now.

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Wizards' Rui Hachimura looked forward to representing Japan but understands decision to postpone Olympics originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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