Thanks to my buddy Greg for passing along this great story. It may be touching on my UCLA roots a bit more than normal, but nevertheless, worth your while. Former UCLA basketball player and 1995 national champion J.R. Henderson, is no longer J.R. Henderson. You see, ever since being selected by the Grizzlies in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft, Henderson has moved on. He left to play in Japan for the Aisin Seahorses (great name) in 2001, and has been balling in Japan ever since. J.R.’s been terrorizing the league, throwing in 21 ppg and 11 rpg last year. What’s all the fuss you ask?
J.R. Henderson is now the basketball player formerly known as J.R. Henderson. From now on, we refer to him as J.R. Sakuragi. In fact, he has changed his name and acquired Japanese citizenship in order to participate on the Japan National Team for the FIBA Asia Championships. I’ve heard of people changing their name over marriage, divorce, and religion change, but never citizenship. People were questioning the legitimacy of the citizenship grant, but rest assured, it has been in the works for quite some time (so say several Japanese officials). J.R.
Henderson Sakuragi, man, we hardly knew ya bro.
(Photo courtesy Kaz Nagatsuka)