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Asia Cup 1997 silver medalist, Japanese legend Takehiko Orimo announces retirement
HOKKAIDO (Japan) - Japanese legend Takehiko Orimo announced that he will be retiring from professional basketball at the end of the 2019-2020 season in a press conference on October 1, 2019.
The 49-year-old forward is currently the oldest player in the Japanese B.League and will be wrapping up nearly three decades of excellence at both the club level and the national team. Orimo has played for two franchises over his career; his first 14 years were with the Alvark Tokyo franchise before starting a 13-year chapter with Levanga Hokkaido where he also the president of the team.
Earlier this year, he became the first Japan-born player to score 10,000 points in league play.
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His time with the national team has also been just as illustrious, especially in the FIBA Asia Cup. Orimo was featured on the Japanese national teams during the late 90s, most notably Asia Cup 1997 in Riyadh where he was one of the tournaments top scorers. His sharpshooting helped lead Japan to their first Asia Cup silver medal in over 10 years and a berth at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 1998 in Athens.
(Takehiko Orimo, FIBA Basketball World Cup 2006 )
After a strong return to the national team for the 2006 World Cup at the age of 36, Orimo made it back to play in two more Asia Cups in 2007 and 2009. Even as the eldest player on both squads, Orimo managed to finish as the top 2 scorers in both years. In 2007, Orimo was scorching hot and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc on 42 attempts which was good for a solid 12.0 points per game.
Japan are on the rise in Asian basketball with some of the brightest stars in the region. Even Orimo has mentioned that he has “nothing but high expectations from them as well”, as reported by Japan Times during their win streak at the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. However, it must not be forgotten that Japan had experienced some of their best moments in the Asia Cup with Orimo at his peak sniping away from the perimeter as well.