Basketball In Latin America Essay

4536 words - 19 pages

In Latin America, the popularity of the sport is growing rapidly and the most recent of talent into the NBA is migrating from Latin America. The cultural popularity of the sport was growing exponentially and is well documented in China with the likes of Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin who are Asian sensations. With Latin American backgrounds integrating into the game of basketball, I wonder how these international translations are in turn changing the game we see at home.
In Latin America, where the climate and geographies are so much different than the one in the United States, we find growth in basketball. Though the NBA in Latin America is growing, it is still not a hit in Central and South ...view middle of the document...

“We’re never gonna get the kind of attention and media that [soccer does]. But it is finally… I really believe that it is probably the second sport in South America.” (Manu Ginobili) As I was saying the way basketball is represented and soccer are completely different and it is hard to try to compete. Basketball just plays their sport and soccer plays theirs, but soccer will always rain supreme. With the likes of players like Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, and Javier Pastore; basketball will have to wait in line with the rest of the sports in Argentina.
In countries without the luck of getting great coaches and good understanding of the game, the influence of soccer is crucial in the game of basketball. Passing is the only way to advance up the field the easiest in soccer, passing is natural when soccer players step on the court in Latin America. Players often understand the offense spacing on the floor, leading to a higher chance of exploiting the defense just like in soccer. When you use the width of the field in soccer, the defense is more exposed and the field so there is more room and holes to play the ball and to get a chance on goal. This is true in basketball, when the fast break occurs. In Latin America you will always find a player dribbling the ball, but the importance of advancing the play is with the pass, which is often a natural idea even for young Latino players. In countries like Brazil and Argentina, basketball players seem to have a higher basketball IQ, and general understanding of teamwork. It seems just like the likes of European style basketball only because soccer always reigns supreme there as well. This is just one example of adapting to cultural differences. In Europe they have many leagues: Barclays, La Liga, Bundesliga, etc…
Latino basketball was hard to get use too until in 2003 when Argentinean Manu Ginobili (Spurs) and Brazilian Nené (Nuggets) both scored double digits in points per game for the year, solidifying them as impact players at the highest level of play. Yet it could be argued that the current South American influence began in 2002, the year Manu Ginobili joined the San Antonio Spurs, and the same year in which Nené was drafted. “I think the arenas are really full and people are gonna love it, but I’m not sure if it’s gonna increase the popularity of the game,” Ginobili said. “Because then you’ve gotta build and you’ve gotta work hard to promote it, and I don’t see that going on.” (Manu Ginobili) Manu Ginobili thinks that with the wide spread fame of the two playing basketball, it still needs to do more than just show them off to the public eye. They need to promote more basketball and get more clinics so kids can learn the game. Either way, across the United States, Nené and Ginobili are household names from a region that is changing the game rapidly before our eyes. They are the Lionel Messi’s and Ronalinho’s of their native countries, but in the basketball aspects. Latin American...

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