Comically short NBA players are a dying breed.
While never a prolific cross section of the league, it always seemed like each generation of the last 30 years had its marquee Mighty Mouse. Spud Webb owned the late '80s/early '90s, Muggsy Bogues had the mid-'90s, and Earl Boykins claimed the 2000s.
The closest thing NBA fans have to a pocket-sized dynamo now is 5’9” Nate Robinson, who is currently sidelined with an ACL injury. There is a vacuum in the NBA market for fun-sized guards, and Japanese baller Yuki Togashi may be the one to fill it.
A 5’7” point guard out of Japan’s BJ League, Togashi was invited by the Dallas Mavericks to play NBA Summer League ball in Las Vegas. The sharpshooting guard has since become a fan favorite, dropping triples and winning over the crowd with his slick floaters.
“I know I look like I’m like 15 years old,” Togashi told reporters. “Maybe that’s why the fans love me. ... Sometimes it’s kinda too much, but I gotta get used to it.”
Get used to it, Togashi. You are a star.
Jake O’Donnell of SportsGrid.com reports that the 20-year-old scored 12 points in 11 minutes on the floor against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. Even better, his performance sparked a number of Animal House puns from the game’s commentators, who said the crowd was chanting “Toga! Toga! Toga!” by the end of the game.
Imagine this at a packed NBA stadium.
If he were to make an NBA roster, Togashi would become the second Japanese player in the history of the league. (Yuta Tabuse made the cut for the Phoenix Suns in 2004.)
Judging by his highlight tape with the Akita Northern Happinets, the BJ League All-Star Game MVP has the court vision and passing skills to make it a possibility.
Togashi has one last summer game to make his mark on this league. The Mavericks' summer league squad will close out its Vegas stint with a game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Pray for Togashi. Pray for Toga time.
Follow me on Twitter for more sports and pop culture news.