Former Wonju DB head coach Lee Sang-beom (54) and national team member Lee Dae-sung (33), who both experienced the top of the KBL in men’s professional basketball, have made their way to Japan.
Lee was recently named coach of the Kobe Stocks of the Nippon Professional Basketball B2 League (2nd Division), while Lee Dae-sung joined the Shihos Mikawa of the B1 League (1st Division).
The arrival of Yang Jae-min (24-Sendai) in the B-League in the summer of 2020 as an amateur player was followed by other former KBL coaches and players in Japan.
The general consensus is that the view of Japan, which used to look down on younger players, has changed a lot in recent years.
Launched in 2015, the Japan B League is a “big league” that is divided into divisions 1 to 3 and consists of 54 teams, 24 in the first division and 14 in the second division.
Shinji Shimada’s (52) regime, which has prioritized the self-sustainability of clubs, has set conditions for participation in the top division starting in 2026.
They had to have an average attendance of 4,000, an annual income of at least 1.2 billion yen, and a private stadium. If a team doesn’t meet these requirements, they will be excluded, even if they are performing well. Several teams have undergone major gym renovations.
Although it is not directly comparable to the situation of domestic facilities centered on local governments, it is possible to proactively respond and complement in scale and operation.
According to the B League, as of last year, there were only seven Japanese players earning more than 100 million yen (about $920 million) per year, excluding foreigners. In the KBL, Kim Sun-hyung (SK) has the highest total compensation at 800 million won. That’s including incentives.
Foreign players prefer the Japanese league to the KBL because of these high salaries.
Although it wasn’t the best lineup, the Korea-Japan exhibition game held in Korea last month ended in a 1-1 tie. Japan is ranked 36th and South Korea 38th in the FIBA rankings.
Japan has two active National Basketball Association (NBA) players (Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe) and was the host of the 2006 FIBA World Cup, and is 토토 set to host its second World Cup alongside the Philippines and Indonesia on Nov. 25.
Unlike baseball and soccer, which are making the leap to the NPB and J-League, basketball is frowned upon in Japan.
It is said that a coach once told a player who was considering going to Japan, “Going to Japan is a disgrace to the face of Korean basketball.” It has been pointed out that it is like hearing the sound of a frog in a well.