• Finalizado
    FINAL
    2015-09-12
    Argentina 71
    Venezuela 76
  • Finalizado
    BRONCE
    2015-09-12
    Mexico 86
    Canada 87
  • Finalizado
    SEMIFINAL
    2015-09-11
    Argentina 78
    Mexico 70
  • Finalizado
    SEMIFINAL
    2015-09-11
    Canada 78
    Venezuela 79
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Mexico 95
    Argentina 83
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Uruguay 69
    Puerto Rico 80
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Dominicana 103
    Canada 120
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Panama 62
    Venezuela 75
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Mexico 73
    Canada 94
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Panama 71
    Puerto Rico 78
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Venezuela 75
    Uruguay 77
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Argentina 92
    Dominicana 84

Basketball is also culture

A deep analysis of how much could achieve Argentine basketball if political causes weren't present.

Someone goes out to the streets of Buenos Aires a Sunday afternoon, and it could appreciate a desert scene, except for a few people who are still on the entry queue to the stadium. Don Manuel, the barber, asks to one of his clients what would be the Boca Juniors’ starting formation. In the houses, everybody is gathered in front of the TV, and those who are not, they keep its AM radios religiously stuck to its ears, or the nose against the showcase glass in overlapped pizzerias, bars, cafes and taverns. They discuss a bad-annulled goal by an offside who didn’t exist; if the central midfielder collaborates or not with the three-quarter; if the centre forward failed a penalty kick just because he was a “cold-chest”, or somebody who cannot assume a responsibility in the key moments of the game; if the supporters of the away team are pursued by the police corps or if they went into relegation. The vocabulary of the great majority of Argentinians is plenty of words that are related directly or indirectly with football (soccer), unanimously their big passion. In order to keep its market share intact, almost every journalistic media covers the different categories of Argentine Football Association: more than sixty games a weekend. On Monday mornings, on the printed version; and on Sunday nights, at the small screen, while admiring and emulating those relators and color commentators who became such known by their charm, repetitive speech and style rather than their cultural background and professional formation. Even worse, there’s no school of sports journalism in the country who doesn’t assume this reality.

Football in Argentina is a matter of state, in the sense that, in terms of public interest, determines the statu quo of the country’s sports panorama. Other disciplines haven’t the same importance, although they should. Basketball, on time, had his golden opportunity after the title obtained in the first World Cup held in Buenos Aires in 1950. In the final match, Argentina beats United States 64-50 against 22.000 people at Luna Park Stadium. The national team, despite still being amateur, has had three previous months of preparation, and also had the explicit support of the government. The same working base obtained silver medal at the first Panamerican Games -Buenos Aires ‘51-, gold at the University Games in Dortmund ’52, and later the same year the fourth place at the Olympics in Helsinki –losing against Uruguay for the bronze medal match-. The military uprising who abruptly ended Peron’s second presidential term in 1955 cut short all that projection, and the following life ban for the entire team completely destroyed a sports role model, and even worse, it installed within its population the perception that basketball was a minor sport. A grievance that was repaired many years later and only in part, by the creation of the National League (in 1985) and the players emerged from it, including the so-called 'golden generation'.

By the way. Athens 2004 saw that guys obtain something previously achieved only by three countries -United States, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia-, the latter two now extinct: an Olympic gold medal. Is it still not enough merit for the Argentine state in order to give basketball massive support? Beyond interests, basketball is also culture, as good as soccer: only the codes that are handled are different. We will see the day when terms like “triple sobre la bocina” (buzzer-beater three-pointer), pick and roll, or “pase de faja” (bounce pass), could be listened in the streets of every Argentine city in the very same conditions.


Matias Barmat (@worldhoopstats)

Lecturas: 978 - 2011-08-22