The first thing that pops to our minds when we hear Basketball is NBA. The fancy assists, ankle breakers and of course the electrifying dunks. But for most its way beyond the hoops that they shoot.
For people who actively watch NBA, they might argue who is the greatest basketball player of all time. Some might say its Lebron, Bryant but for most (especially those who witnessed) its Michael Jordan. Even in the Basketball article on wikipedia its showing MJ as the cover photo. I'm a 90s kid and in my honest opinion its His Airness. Way back in the 90s the NBA was the center of basketball. Simply because its where the most athletic ballers are. Players like MJ, Malone, Rodman, Kemp, O'neal, Magic, Kobe, Iverson, Tmac and now we have Lebron, Rose, Durant, Melo to name a few. Since then basketball doesn't revolves around NBA, because now NBA revolves around the world
Here are some historical facts about the NBA
- In 1946, Henry Biasatti of Italy was the first international player in the league.
- August 1979 - The Washington Wizards (then Bullets led by Head Coach Dick Motta visited China in 1979 and played two exhibition games against the Chinese National basketball team and the Bayi Rockets team
- 1985 - As part of the cultural and educational agreements between China and the United States, the Chinese national basketball team arrived in New York to begin a month of training and practice against NBA teams, including New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Chicago, Washington and Cleveland. Known as the NBA-China Friendship Tour, the Chinese team trained with then-Boston Celtics assistant coach Ed Badger while getting special instruction from NBA Legends Red Auerbach and Pete Newell.
- 1988 - The Atlanta Hawks became the first NBA team to play in the Soviet Union when they defeated the Soviet Georgia All-Stars, 85-84, in an exhibition game as part of their July 20-31 tour.
2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup
Popularity Outside US
Maybe because the lack of technology before reason why NBA was the face of basketball if you're from another country outside US. There were no Facebook, Twitter, etc. Not enough tools to connect to the outside world. Basketball heads knew about the 1992 Olympics. The Dream Team. If you've seen footage of the Dream Team while they were in Barcelona, you can see how popular the Dream Team was and just shows how popular the game of Basketball is. With the NBA sending games outside US and showcasing NBA talents to the world helped promote the game. Thanks to media and training, basketball has evolved throughout the years. Not just in the US but it also evolved around the world. We now see international players getting drafted in the league, signing contracts with NBA Teams and of course dominating games. Steve Nash (CA)was the first international player who became the MVP. Not just one but for two consecutive years. Then followed by Dirk Nowitzki from Germany who lead the Dallas Mavericks to the finals. Yao Ming who went to the NBA and became a celebrity back home in China who even requires translators when doing interviews. Let's not forget The San Antonio Spurs, the team with most international players. With Tony Park and Manu Ginobili leading the team winning Championships. More and more players around the globe are hoping to get a shot at stardom. Even only if they get a chance to play in D-League. 2013-14 NBA Season Tipped Off with 92 record international players. That's the most so far and for sure there will be more especially with the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup coming on August. Team USA as a crowd favorite still Nations around the world are not faltered by their presence. Each team will show what they are made of and will show the world that basketball is also a famous sport in their respective countries. Even my height-challenged team, the Philippines who I also witnessed their passion and the love for basketball as thrilled to play on this year's FIBA games.
For some ballers, its their exit to a better life and a brighter future. As the game evolves the players do their best to meet the standards. Fathers train their kids even at a young age hoping their sons can make it to the big league. For some its bigger than basketball. Its friendship and its a relief for hardships in life even for just a while. From where I'm from, basketball is part of our life.Basketball is everywhere. My wife and daughter seems to understand and she's always there to cheer for me as well. Its a way to connect to others and meet new people.
Beyond Basketball: Other Ways
Beyond Basketball: Food on the plate
For the top ballers in the league, they don't need to worry about money. As long as they play well and consistent then their future is already set. But for some who did not made it, they will have to find ways after countless hours training in the gym. Spending more of their times on the court than on real life. The amount of pain they've been through. One can argue that they are not good enough if they are not a Pro-Baller after college. For some the years of sacrifice goes to waste. There are other kids spent more time improving their skills than studying. So if they are not drafted or doesn't have any contact they will have to think of ways to make a living. Possible paths would be playing abroad, become a coach or trainer to young kids. Take Ganon Baker for example. He was a star in High School and a great player in College. After suffering from injury and not making it to the NBA he decided to make a business in basketball which is doing training camps.
I'm not really good at basketball. Maybe average. I play twice a week max. I work for 9 hrs a day and have to spend time with my family. But whenever I get a chance, I play and my family is right there cheering for me even if I'm having a bad game. I'm 29 years old and I still try to improve my game whenever I can. We all have a busy schedule in our life, there's family, work, friends, etc. With all those happening in your daily life, I'm sure you would agree.... "Those things can't stop me play the sport that I love." For some it might be just a sport but for some its Beyond Basketball.