The Golden State Warriors will play two 2022 preseason games in Japan against the Washington Wizards as part of the NBA Japan Games 2022 Presented by Rakuten, the league announced today. The Warriors and Wizards will face off on Friday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 2 at Saitama Super Arena, marking the first Japan visit for both teams and the 15th and 16th NBA games ever in the country.
“We are honored to tip off the 2022-23 NBA season in Japan,” said Warriors President & Chief Operating Officer Brandon Schneider. “Throughout our four-plus year partnership with Rakuten, we’ve forged many deep, meaningful relationships in Japan. Participating in the upcoming NBA Japan Games gives us great optimism about the continued growth of basketball around the world and the opportunity to unite through a shared love of the game."
The NBA Japan Games 2022 Presented by Rakuten will mark Golden State’s ninth and 10th games played outside of North America, and Japan will become the sixth country outside of the United States to host a Warriors game (Canada, China, France, Japan, Mexico, Spain). The Warriors last participated in the NBA Global Games in China in 2017 with a pair of preseason games in Shenzhen and Shanghai.
Between 1990 and 2003, the NBA staged 12 regular season games in Japan in Saitama City, Tokyo and Yokohama. The matchup between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz in Tokyo on Nov. 2, 1990 marked the first regular season game played outside of North America by a U.S. sports league. The NBA last played games in Japan in 2019, when Rakuten and the NBA partnered to bring the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors to the country for two preseason games.
The NBA’s presence in Japan dates back more than 30 years. NBA games and programming have aired in Japan since the 1988-89 season, and officially licensed NBA merchandise is widely available at more than 700 retail stores across the country and through NBAStore.jp, the official online NBA store in Japan. In addition to live games, the league has conducted a number of events in Japan, including interactive fan events, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives, and in 2012 and 2019, Basketball Without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program.
The NBA Japan Games 2022 Presented by Rakuten will livestream in Japan on the NBA Rakuten service and will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories on television, digital media and social media. Leading up to the games, the league and its partners will also conduct interactive fan activities, Jr. NBA programming and NBA Cares community outreach initiatives. Tickets for the games will go on sale at a later date.
In 2017, the NBA and Rakuten announced a groundbreaking partnership that made Rakuten a global marketing partner of the NBA and the league’s exclusive live-game distribution partner in Japan. Rakuten is also an official partner of the Golden State Warriors, a relationship that began in 2017 when the Warriors welcomed Rakuten as the team’s first-ever jersey partner.