I feel like sitting on the fence today. I really don’t feel like making waves. I just want to say I feel the title of this piece which is identical to a MSN article is complete and utter bull crap. A lot of what I write is based on what I see in the news and applying a few of my core beliefs. As you may know one of them is ” KSP is the root of all evil“. Another one that I quote less is from the immortal 1987 movie The Princess Bride.
The Philippines is the only country in the world where not only is basketball king but there is no queen, prince, princess, bishop, knight or even pawn. There is no other team sport or even Olympic sport that competes for the best pinoy athletes. Basketball is the default sport for anybody slightly coordinated. Yet that tunnel vision has produced nothing in terms of being competitive abroad. I have said many times that there is nothing wrong with enjoying basketball without being good at it. I just find the pinoy quest for validation abroad as soothing as fingernails on a chalkboard.
The article that spawned this blog piece said that Harden skipped the NBA awards night to come here. That makes as much sense as me skipping binge watching Star Trek Discovery on Netflix to go to work. You don’t skip something if you are instead attending to something that you are paid to do and you are living up to an obligation. Once again spreading the illusion that the Philippines is actually loved by somebody who is actually good at basketball.
The day I believe that James Harden really loves the Philippines in his heart of hearts above any other place on Earth will be the day he gets an endorsement contract for Gillette. Why does it need to be said? Why is it so easily believed? The simple reason is desperate people will believe anything. It does not matter if Google exists or not. There is nothing wrong with wanting attention but as we see time and time again Filipinos always want attention without achievement. As I said before that is why beauty pageants are so valued in this culture. God does most of the work and every single representative has at least a smattering of Caucasian genes. Very seldom do we have a Miss Philippines looking like a typical barrio lass.
Speaking of the NBA Awards let us look at some of the men recognized that night:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece and Nigeria) the Most Valuable Player
- Pascal Siakam ( Cameroon) the Most Improved ( as well as most recent NBA champion)
- Luka Doncic (Slovenia) the Rookie of the Year
- Rudy Gobert (France) the Defensive Player of the Year
The website The Ringer said that the NBA has made a concerted effort over the past decade to grow the game outside the USA. A few of the NBA’s standouts who were not born in the USA only began playing basketball as teenagers and they cited Siakam and Giannis. Unlike the Philippines where basketball is a birthright. It is the only team sport the nation cares about . The NBA is the only professional league that plays abroad that pinoys care about to any significant extent. Football dominates Europe, Africa and everywhere else yet that is where all the NBA players come from. The best basketball league in the world is full of reminders how irrelevant the only nation on Earth that focuses on basketball is.
Let us start with a simple fact. Nobody who is good at basketball comes to the Philippines to get players or coaches. Nobody looks at the PBA on tips how to run their league. Talent goes where the money is. If pinoys were talented in basketball they would win games as a nation, they would contend for NBA awards like people from Cameroon or Nigeria or Slovenia. Since they are not in the periphery of being remotely competitive in the world, they console themselves with calling themselves astig and have muse contests.
I really don’t care if nobody cares about the PBA outside of Cubao , what annoys me is when people pretend that the best should learn from the most unaccomplished. That is not how it works in the real world. The PBA has proven that 1) no other nation cares to watch their games 2) no other league that pays more money cares to poach their players. Luka Doncic won an MVP award playing for the #2 basketball league in the world at 18 years old. To put that is perspective every native born PBA player since 1975 has failed to make an NBA roster or even a pro team of any significance abroad. Yet pinoys approach basketball like they are entitled to basketball glory and attention.
If you don’t believe my statement that nobody else in the world watches the PBA please show me a sports website that carries the results of the games and publishes articles about the games and players. Assuming you can’t then can you agree with me that expecting the best basketball in the league to learn from the PBA is ridiculous? For some reason Quinito Henson in a tweet believes that the PBA unlocked something the NBA ignored. Trying to make up for the fact that nobody outside of Cubao cares about the PBA.
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” – Why is this so hard to understand?? James Harden says this place is his favorite place on Earth. Pinoys eat it up and several places publish it like it was a royal proclamation. Please watch the Princess Bride. Pinoy basketball is painful for the rest of the world to watch otherwise they would be watching it. James Harden is paid by Adidas to come here and promote their products. In my world to promote products is to sell them. The article I referred to said :
During a fast talk interview, the Houston Rockets superstar was asked to name is favorite place in the world, and almost expectedly, he said “Manila.”
There is a saying that goes: ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer. Pinoys rejoice at a stupid answer. He is in Manila and paid to sell to Filipinos. What do you expect him to say? ” Gary, Indiana”? Go up to any young mother and ask them to name the cutest kid in the world. They will give you a better, more truthful answer than James Harden. At least Adidas is not paying for their answer.
If James Harden really believes that answer then he will answer “Manila” and promote “Manila” wherever Adidas sends him. I am 100% sure that never happened. Why am I so confident? I truly have faith in Pinoy media to be there when it does happen and to play that comment on a loop in perpetuity. If James Harden really believes Manila is his favorite place then he would have property here , retire here. You know, come here at his own expense. He will bring his family to witness ” his favorite place in the world”. He will put his money where his mouth his.
All this talk about one of the best NBA players proclaiming Manila is the best made me think of a similar situation. I visited City of Dreams near Mall of Asia exactly once. I remember seeing the gigantic faces of Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese proclaiming its virtues. Every promo I read about it has their names attached to it. One interesting note though. I see no evidence of the latter two ever going here to give credibility to their endorsement. What does that say about the casino and Manila? It is beneath Martin and Leonardo to actually come here?
Pinoys have a habit of spreading fake news and doctored pictures that the best in basketball care about the Philippines . I almost finalized this piece on James Harden when I remembered that fake LeBron James pic. I even forgot that I devoted a very early GRP blog to it. Pinoys love to insert themselves in the NBA and can not accept the fact that their play is so substandard. Other countries produce players that thrive in the NBA. Pinoys do weird things to make themselves feel they are part of the NBA. Enjoy the NBA yes but do not expect it to enjoy you or even acknowledge your existence.
I don’t pull my punches where I believe pinoy basketball belongs in the overall scheme of things. Of course a lot of vitriol has been thrown my way from those who are so proud to be pinoy. Yet not one of them even attempts to answer the question why the one country on earth where basketball has a monopoly on the local consciousness is so irrelevant beyond its own shores? Pinoys, just admit no one currently cares about your contribution to basketball and just behave with the appropriate humility.
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