As a non-player, I always wondered why Pinoys love basketball so much
Filipinos, in general, don’t have much—in terms of who generates the least gross domestic product, after all, we’re ranked 28th in the world. So most of us get by on simple food, years-worn clothing and houses that fit both immediate and extended family members. But you know what we do have in abundance? Basketball courts.
Okay, okay. That isn’t really saying much; attach a hoop to a wall and you’re good to go. But the thing is, there’s a reason why every village, barangay and street corner has a court (makeshift or otherwise): You can’t detach Pinoys from the sport.
So today we’re talking about why Pinoys love basketball so much. What is it about the game that has us so hooked?
First, a little history lesson: The Americans introduced basketball to the Philippine educational system more than a hundred years ago and it’s evidently still there. It doesn’t matter if you’re enrolled in a private or public school system, whether it’s co-ed or exclusive, basketball is part of your curriculum. And unlike most of our lessons, basketball stays.
Why Pinoys love basketball reason 1: It’s easily accessible
Other than the fact we’re all forced to partake in basketball at least once in our lives, the sport is an easy one to set up in the years that follow. You don’t need that much space, you don’t need a proper hoop, any number of people can play it and you don’t even need the right footwear to join in on the fun—that last part is unsafe, but still true.
And while not everyone can rise to the ranks of Michael Jordan, LeBron James or Robert Jaworski, virtually anyone can play the game. It’s easy to learn, easy to understand and thereby palatable to everyone.
Why Pinoys love basketball reason 2: It’s entertaining
Whether or not you play the game itself, there’s no doubt that it’s entertaining. The endless possibilities keep audiences at the edge of their seats. The game is dynamic and is rewarding for those watching and those playing. Really, all you need to get hooked is to choose a team to cheer for.
Its entertainment factor is only proven further by sold-out arenas and the multiple leagues in our country alone.
Why Pinoys love basketball reason 3: It’s fast-paced
You’re never really sure how a basketball game will end. I mean, how many games have we watched that had less than a second left on the clock—and those nanoseconds still made all the difference, this short period of time still spelled the difference between winning and losing and still playing on.
The next question to ask (and answer) is: What is it about the NBA, then? Why do millions of us have such a connection to a game that’s played oceans away? Why do most people know that the current NBA season has the LA Lakers at the top? Why do we know that Rookie Of The Year will likely be awarded to Ja Morant, Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett? Why can we debate about who rightfully deserves the title of GOAT with full (and correct) stats when we can barely even name the islands of our country?
It might not be possible to simplify the answer, but there is this theory: It’s about the aspirational yet attainable aspect of basketball. Pinoys are skilled, yet we’re lacking in height—a truth that’s hard to swallow, but is often essential in basketball. So we cheer for those who have the potential to make it to the big international leagues. Hopefully one day no one will be calling us bandwagoners anymore, huh?
Art Alexandra Lara