Hanamichi Sakuragi (桜木 花道 Sakuragi Hanamichi?) is the protagonist of Slam Dunk. At the beginning of the series, Sakuragi is a slacker, good for nothing other than fighting. He is the leader of the feared “Sakuragi’s Gang”, which consists of his four friends Mito, Noma, Ohkusu and Takamiya. Sakuragi was always trying to ask girls out, but was rejected constantly, the 50th rejection occurring at the start of the series. He then met Haruko Akagi, a lovely basketball fangirl, whom he fell in love with immediately. This and Haruko’s encouragement led to him to join the Shohoku basketball team. However, as a complete beginner, he was not able to keep up with the rest of the team at first despite his height, athleticism, stamina, speed and leaping ability. He regards himself as a genius though, with self-confidence that borders on arrogance. Sakuragi’s most recognizable trait is his red hair, though he shaves his head as reparation for an error that led to a loss in the Interhigh Tournament against Kainan. He has a habit of making fun of other players by giving them various nicknames, such as calling Akagi “gorilla”.