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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2398

Basketball is still not popular in Sri Lanka

By S.H.Moulana

Sri Lanka joined world basketball federation, FIBA in 1959 and our ranking was 88 and we have not taken part in any FIBA World Cup events.

However, our team qualified for the Asian Basketball Championship seven times and it is rated among Asia’s top 12 in the year 1981.

Sorry, my statistic may be not updated, anyway the fact is the game is not so popular as cricket in our country.

The countries where basketball is extremely popular and played intensely are USA, Latvia, Lithuania, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Australia and Canada.

This game was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian American in the year 1891 and the first game was played at Massachusetts on 21 December in the same year.

Basketball is so popular in the US and the legendary player, Michael Jordan used to earn over $ 33 million in the 1997-98 NBA season.

The height of the players in the team is a very important factor for success of the team. The current champion player, LeBron James stands a good 6’ 9’’ and he earns not less than $ 20 million a season. He can jam any guy and fans storm to every match he plays.

Yet another country where basketball is everywhere you look is Philippines; in tiny fishing villages on the island of Palawan on gritty street corners in Manila and Cebu and on television screens from north to south of the archipelago.

A close association with the Filipinos will reveal from where and how does this love affair with basketball exist.
There is no doubt that this game is played in the Philippine islands just 15 years after the American colonizers played in their country.

Even in Saudi Arabia where a large number of Filipinos work, their passion for the game is well exposed. Most of them are attached to various hotel, fast food chains and hospitals in addition to the mechanical field. Wherever they live somehow or other they will find a place to hang a basket to practice the game.

This passion for the game made hotels to organize Inter-Hotel Basketball Tournaments annually.

After losing in the finals two times in a row the responsibility of team manager’s position was thrust on me by the hotel where I was attached with the recommendation of the team members, comprised of all Filipinos.

The renowned golf player, Tiger Woods had this to say ‘Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.

I told them I am a keen spectator but never played basketball in my life. The team members were confident that I could infuse discipline into the team while getting appreciable sponsorships from hotel suppliers for the betterment of the players.

I brought in a strict rule that until the whole tournament is over no player should smoke and nobody to skip practice.

Leaving my working hours, I spent most of my time with the team. This paid rich dividend, the following two inter hotel tournaments our hotel became the champions and both occasions I got the trophy for the ‘Best Manager’ from the Inter-Hotel Basketball Tournament Committee.

These two trophies placed in our sitting room in Riyadh which remain as the talking point for new visitors.

Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball player of the US, said ‘The game of basketball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, place I have always gone where I needed comfort and peace. It has been the site of intense pain and the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It’s a relationship that has evolved over time, given me the greatest respect and love for the game.’

The renowned golf player, Tiger Woods had this to say ‘Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.’

- Asian Tribune -

Basketball is still not popular in Sri Lanka
Basketball is still not popular in Sri Lanka
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