It’s called progress

I’ve learned that bj-league board member Tatsuya Abe asked some writers via Twitter (talk about a casual proposal) to participate in voting for this season’s Best Five players, the upstart league’s version of an All-League first team.

Writers declined, however, as some said they hadn’t had a chance to see all teams and all players.

That’s taking the easy way out; it’s completely foolish. And it sets a bad precedent — two actually:

1. Media fails to see the big picture: that it has a responsibility to be an integral part of the process of building public interest in the league.

2. By rejecting an offer, even if it is casual or a modest proposal by the league office, hoop journalists here are not showing the backbone to be proactive in terms of coverage and a willingness to be flexible and not view coverage from a point of view as narrow as a coffee mug.

Come on, folks, get with the program! There’s no pro basketball writer press association in Japan. There’s no true network of collaboration among writers. No must-watch highlights show. Very few games on TV. These are major obstacles to overcome.

For the sport to be taking seriously in the future, it’ll take a collective sense of responsibility, an admission by journalists that, yes, we have a duty to be educated about the sport and put in the hours and the research and ask the tough questions that need to be asked…

If we don’t see all the teams play on a regular basis, we still ought to be familiar with a team’s stars and role players — all teams, really — and do the homework that’s necessary to be an expert-in-the-making. Otherwise, what’s the point, really?

I hope if Abe-san, or someone else at the league office, submits a proposal like that again in the near future, enough journalists will understand the significance of it and embrace the opportunity to be a part of the process.

In fact, as of this moment, I am reintroducing this offer: I’d like to establish a bj-league press association. Now’s the perfect time to do so; it’s never too late for something that’s clearly a win-win opportunity for all parties.

It’ll be a BIG step forward for the sport and for the media here, as well as helping to find ways to give fans better coverage of the games, the league’s history as it unfolds and the colorful personalities from Osaka to Okinawa, Shimane to Shiga, and many other locales.

As journalists, we can share notes, quotes and anecdotes for the betterment of the sport, assisting one another in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures and, even perhaps, overseas for those who report on the sport with Japan as an occasional subject matter.

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