Filipinos tops in NBA armchair sportscasting over Twitter

Suddenly it all makes sense to me. Sorry I’m kinda slow when it comes to sports trivia. So Erik Spoelstra, coach of the NBA team Miami Heat is a Filipino-American.

Kaya pala.

According to a Philippine Star report, Filipinos have been so enthralled by the NBA finals in which Heat is up against Oklahoma City Thunder that the Philippines — a country of 100 million — made it up there ranking third after the United States (pop. 310 million) and China (pop. 1.3 billion) in terms of volume of NBA-related tweets fielded.

Considering the country’s smaller population compared to the US and China, it means on a per-capita basis, Filipinos’ contribution to online chatter related to the NBA dwarfed all the rest. Based on these figures, each Filipino on the average tweeted three times the number of the US’s and thirteen times the number of China’s armchair Twitter sportscasters.

Filipinos have certainly been busy lately.

“They root for us,” Spoelstra said. “When we’re over there during the summer, they are. It’s great to see. I had my family over here last night from the Philippines. The one thing about the Philippines is they are rabid basketball fanatics, and it’s been that way for a while. They’ve been following us now for the last couple years, as well.”

Rabid indeed. The tall man’s game is ingrained in the psyche of a nation of short people. There is a consequence, of course, to this bizarre fixation…

In stark contrast to the meritocratic nature of soccer which does not care much about being born with the genes for height, the fixation that Filipinos have for basketball creates so many shattered dreams. Millions of young Filipinos are raised to love a sport that does not love them back. Many waste inordinate amounts of time practicing the game, wishing that they would be just like Kobe Bryant when they grow up, only to grow to their full height which might be just a few inches taller than Diego Maradona — a height that is just not cut for competitive basketball.

Filipinos even love to watch the NBA play-offs, but even if the Philippines is perhaps the most basketball-crazy country in the World (Americans are more obsessed with American Football and Baseball), countries with much more diversified sporting interests such as Mainland China and the former Yugoslav republics of Serbia, Croatia, etc, who all watch more soccer than they do basketball, have successfully sent players to the NBA. The Philippines has never sent a Filipino to the NBA!

Just the same, I’m not sure if it is because I have only this year been most aware of Twitter goings on, or because the winning coach of this year’s finals is of Filipino descent. But, really, tweeting while watching a sport as fast-paced as basketball — where sometimes even blinking just a millisecond too long could mean missing the turning point of a game? Oh well…


Post Author: benign0

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20 Comments on "Filipinos tops in NBA armchair sportscasting over Twitter"

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It’s just sad that everyone is so fixated on basketball that they can’t see the potential of our country to excel in other sports. I used to play varsity basketball in highschool and baseball in college. I enjoyed baseball a lot more than I did basketball and it saddens me that the attention given to other sports where we could potentially dominate internationally is almost non existent. We have come home with gold in fencing, baseball, archery, rifle and pistol shooting, swimming, track and field… the list goes on and yet there is nothing. Our rallying behind the Azkals is… Read more »

NBA Finals is the only annual championship that pinoys will tune in to.

I don’t think people should be like me but just to care about one team sport when there are many others.

I wrote this on the irrelevance of the World Cup here and shortly thereafter the Azkals fad hit

I wrote this on the pinoy tunnel vision with basketball and how it explained the culture.


I unfollowed somebody for polluting my Twitter feed with basketball scores.

Robert Haighton

Outside the scope of this blog:
The name Spoelstra sounds very Dutch. Easy to pronounce by me. It would be a typical name for someone coming from the province of “Friesland”, or “Groningen” or maybe “Drenthe”. Erik is maybe a more international first name but also his first name (Erik or Eric) is very common here in the Netherlands.

Another sports blog that bash most Filipino’s penchant for basketball instead of football or any other sports other than basketball (and boxing, for that matter)? Not trolling, but geez, every person has his or her own preference, right? Its just that most Filipinos like basketball more than any other sports. What’s wrong with that? So what if we can’t produce an NBA-type home-grown player?Does it mean that if we can’t send a home-grown player for UEFA, we don’t watch it anymore? From the last time I checked, we can still pretty much choose our personal preferences. And the PStar article… Read more »
Why do we fantasize on things we will never excel and get. Ours is a team where we can’t even win against our neighbors. Being ecstatic in watching our local heroes play against each other for the whole year is kinda incestuous to say the least. Sa bagay, even in the diplomatic scene we had lofty goals that we could beat China thru bullying or “takutan”. but when they engaged us on a stare down we turned around and ran as fast as we can before we could even finish saying the name of Noynoy. Could we ever win a… Read more »

We are the only nation in Earth where basketball is the only place where our top homegrown athletes go. We can’t even dominate South East Asian region where builds are similar to ours. And their best guys go to soccer. I have theory in that and it’s in my personal blog.


The NBA season officially ended yesterday. So pinoys will ignore all team sports not played locally until November. Happens every year. Not saying it’s good or bad just that they are so intense over the NBA and that’s it. Yes I know it’s also an Olympic year.

Well, we are ranked higher in basketball in the world than in football. Just because there’s no height requirement doesnt mean it is easier to excel in it. But that’s besides the point, people play sports for the love of the sport not because they have a better chance of winning in it. If that’s the case let’s pick the sport where there is less competition and where we stand a greater chance of winning. And that’s not football. That’s what China did in the 2008 Olympics, they trained athletes for obscure sports where they had the highest probability of… Read more »
Also, I get what the author says about “Pinoy Pride” being annoying and embarassing, but when it comes to basketball, Filipinos don’t really care if there’s a Filipino coaching/playing in the NBA. I’m sure the surge in traffic was also in part due to a Fil-Am coaching in the NBA finals. However, what the author doesnt get is Filipios follow the NBA because they love basketball regardless of whether a Filipino is playing or coaching in it. So you should instead commend Filipinos for being rabid about the NBA, which is how you wanted Filipinos to behave in the first… Read more »

And another thing, tweeting while watching is fun. It’s like interacting with a worldwide barkada. The author should try logging on DDL or Daily Dime on espn during NBA playoff games. It is a lot of fun.

Also, I believe the Filipino’s love for basketball is a special thing. It goes all the way back to the 1940s. And it took a foreigner to point that out in Raef Bartholomew’s book “Pacific Rims”. While the US has American football, baseball and basketball. India and Pakistan has cricket, and the rest of the world has football. Filipinos have basketball. That’s something we should really be proud of even if we are too short to excel in it. I remember this piece in Time magazine or Newsweek, I forget, about this small country that was as rabid about football… Read more »