Darin Maki

Darin Maki

Basketball Player, Tokyo Apache


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on March 2008


How did you end up playing in the B-J league?
In college [California State University, Dominguez Hills], I played against the Japan national team several times, and I did really well. A scout from Japan approached me, and from there my interest in playing professional basketball in Japan began.

What differences did you notice between Japanese and American teams?
The playing style is quite different, but I got used to it pretty quick. In  America, the game is more physical, and players tend to showcase their talents. In Japan, basketball is a real fast-paced game, and the “whole” or team is emphasized over the  individual. You know what they say in Japan: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered.”

As a Japanese-American, what do you think of your role in Japan and back home?
Well, it’s a double-edged sword. I can shift between being the Japanese guy and the American when the situation calls for it. But when there is a conflict, I can’t do no right! Like when coach yells at the Americans, I’m in that group, and when he yells at the Japanese players, I’m in that group too.

Do you have any message for young players in Japan?
Follow your dreams, work hard and, most of all, have fun. I see too many kids out here playing like robots. Just enjoy the game and be yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

What’s your plan for the future?
Well, for right now I am going to continue to play basketball in Japan until it is time to hang it up. I have a clothing line in the works, and I would like to run a professional team in Japan. I would love to coach out here, but what I think is really needed are basketball minds in the front offices. And it’s just fun putting teams together. Be sure to check out my homepage, www.darinsatoshimaki.com, and our game schedule at www.apache5.com. We play our home games at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo!