QUEENS OF THE COURT

May 4, 2016, published in the Orange County Register
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/basketball-714694-imperials-japanese.html

The women file into the gym, most in their late 40s to early 60s and most Asian American, every one of them eager for tipoff.

It’s a Sunday morning at a high school in Huntington Beach, but these women have been playing basketball in gyms like this, on mornings like this, for decades.

Today, it’s the High Rollers against Forever Kidz. Both teams are part of the Orange Coast Sports Association, which sponsors a basketball league of mostly Japanese American women age 40 and older. They play today because they still love the game more than they hate the sprained ankles and floor burns that come with it.

But for much of the 1970s and ’80s, the best players from each squad were teammates on Imperials Purple, the most loved, feared and copied women’s basketball team of its day.

In the vibrant world of Japanese American basketball, the Imperials of a certain era were a blend of Showtime Lakers and John Wooden-era UCLA Bruins. Only perhaps even a little more dominant.

“I always knew we were going to win,” said Stacey Honda, an Imperial during that era and after. “It was just a matter of what the score was going to be.” (READ FULL STORY HERE).

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About Mirin Fader

Mirin Fader is a sports writer living in Los Angeles. She can be reached on Twitter @MirinFader.

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