A lot of people know that boxing is big in the Philippines because of Manny Pacquiao. Boxing is a big sport in the Philippines. There are boxing gyms all over the country. Whenever Manny fights, the crime rate in the Philippines virtually drops to zero
But you know what’s bigger than boxing in the Philippines? Basketball
How big is basketball in the Philippines?
Every school has a basketball court and team. When you go to school in the Philippines, you will learn to play basketball, whether you like it or not.
Every barangay in the Philippines has at least one basketball court. They can make a basketball court out of whatever’s available, no matter how small the place is. You may even sometimes see guys use coconuts as their ball.
The Philippines has a professional basketball league (The Philippine Basketball Association) that has millions of fans and has been going on for almost 50 years.
If you think we’re crazy when March Madness happens, it’s the same with the Philippines and the UAAP and NCAA, their college basketball leagues.
The NBA finals draw the same excitement in Filipinos the way the SuperBowl does for us.
Basketball changes lives in the Philippines.
If you can play professional basketball, you can leverage that into a political or acting career. The connections players make while playing almost guarantees success if they go into business upon retirement. A big example is Robert Jaworski, a PBA Hall of Famer turned senator who wrote and co-wrote around 300 bills in his 6-year term.
Want to score points with your constituents? Politicians sponsor basketball leagues and build basketball courts as a form of public service.
The Filipinos’ love for basketball is so well known, that some even put it on their Onlinejobs.ph profile. Some NBA fan sites hire Filipinos because of their extensive knowledge and passion for the sport.
Rafe Bartholemew wrote a great book if you want a deeper look into Philippine basketball culture. https://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Rims-Flip-Flops-Philippines-Basketball/dp/0451233220
Why are we talking about basketball in this newsletter? Because my OFS, Julia, knows a lot about it. She learned to play basketball in school, watched games growing up, and passes by a basketball court every time she leaves the house.
And she hates basketball.
PS. In Europe, you know they love soccer. Did you know they love cycling almost as much? They have bike parking lots the same way we have car parking lots.