Golden State Warriors visit hedgehog café, sneaker shop and show off their skills on Japan trip

ByKendra Andrews via ESPN logo
Saturday, October 1, 2022
ESPN

TOKYO -- The Golden State Warriors had just one free day during their five-day trip to Tokyo for their preseason games against the Washington Wizards. Saturday was their opportunity to walk the city, see sights and do some shopping.

For Jordan Poole, it was his chance to visit a hedgehog café. Andrew Wiggins decided to tag along.

"For the vibes," Wiggins said.

Animal cafes are popular in Japan. According to Time Out Tokyo, these are cafes where patrons can hang out with everything from dogs and cats to snakes and capybaras.

At Harry, Poole and Wiggins sat next to each other on the same cushioned bench with the same four hedgehogs in front of them, but they had completely different experiences.

Poole doesn't hide his affinity for animals. He's a cat dad and self-declared animal lover. At the café he spent time holding all the hedgehogs before cradling a meerkat.

"Hi, I'm Jordan," Poole said to the meerkat while holding it and stroking its head. "You are so cute. Wow. I almost don't want to let you go."

Poole pondered if he'd be able to get either the meerkat, or one of the hedgehogs -- two of which he eventually dubbed JP and Wiggs -- back into the United States.

Wiggins, on the other hand, looked almost scared as he attempted to pick up a hedgehog before quickly reversing course and abruptly pulling his hands away. He swore it was looking him dead in the eye. Wiggins said he used to think he was an animal person, but as it turns out he's learning he's just a dog person.

However, Poole was not going to let them leave the café until Wiggins held at least one of the hedgehogs.

"You give me confidence," Wiggins told Poole after a little pep talk. "I gave you life? That's all we need," Poole responded.

Wiggins sat, staring at the hedgehog for about a minute before making a move. He was waiting for it to turn its buttocks toward him. Then, very cautiously, Wiggins scooped it up. He lasted five seconds.

"Wiggs did an amazing job," Poole said. "You did your thing, I'm glad that you did that. I'm happy. ... It's an amazing experience. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity kind of situation. I love that."

"Come to Japan, touch a hedgehog," Wiggins added.

Thirty minutes was just the right amount of time for Poole to get his animal fix, while it was probably more than enough for Wiggins to step out of his comfort zone with his teammates.

What caught Wiggins' eye more was the countless number of sneaker stores lining the streets next to the animal café. There was one in particular he and Poole wanted to visit.

Bape, a brand that started in Japan, is just a 10-minute walk from the hedgehog café. As Wiggins and Poole made their way down the street, fans quickly started to recognize them. It's not exactly easy for them to hide, standing several feet taller than almost everyone else and with seemingly much of the city aware that the Warriors are in town. Poole and Wiggins showed patience, taking photos with people while waiting for the crosswalk and even some while walking.

By the time they arrived at the sneaker store, it was just them. But not for long. They weren't the only Warriors players to want to shop at Bape on their day off.

When they arrived, Jonathan Kuminga and Kevon Looney were already there.

"I like these ones," Kuminga said, pointing to a pair of baby pink sneakers. "Just imagine: these with some shorts and, like, a baggy T-shirt. Maybe a little hat. Ooh."

Poole walked over to a clothing rack and pulled a charcoal gray denim jacket. An assistant coach, who was also there, had just purchased a T-shirt. Several minutes later, Andre Iguodala showed up.

Team bonding was capped off with NBA Japan Games on Saturday Night at Saitama Super Arena, a fan event modeled after NBA All-Star Saturday Night. Kuminga and James Wiseman, sitting on the judges' panel for the dunk contest, handed out a perfect 10 score for a dunk over a car, while Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson won the 3-point contest as a team.

"I've gone against [Curry] twice in the 3-point shootout, so it was nice to have a combination of great shooting," Thompson said. "And it was nice to humble Jordan Poole."