Culture

Guatemalans Prefer This Sport Over Fútbol

Basketball has made life better. For the indigenous people of the Lake Atitlán part of Guatemala, basketball — no, not soccer — has taken over the impoverished town. So much so that as many as 800 people in s a small town gather around to watch a game of b-ball.

“It’s not like futbol,” Otto Gonzalez said as he watched his daughter play a game. “But basketball is important in Guatemala, especially in some of the towns around here.”

It’s important not only because it’s more acceptable for his daughter to play the game — unlike soccer — but because there’s a connection to juego de pelota or ball game, an ancient Mayan game where players used their thighs and shoulders to put a ball through a vertical hoop.

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“Running a rubber ball through a hoop — that appeals to them. There’s a skill involved, and practice and team coordination. These are things that expand on the ancient past, so there’s a tremendous legacy there,” says Dr. Richard Hansen, an archaeologist who has studied Mayan culture in Guatemala, to the New York Times.

Since the indigenous people have long been oppressed and enslaved thus losing the chance to embrace and appreciate their traditions, Basketball has allowed them to reconnect with their Mayan culture.

“Basketball is a game where they have an opportunity to appreciate the history they’ve had,” Hansen said. “Their ancestors essentially invented it.”

Check out the amazing pictures from The New York Times here.

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Vanessa Bryant Penned A Heartbreaking Message To Kobe On What Would Have Been His 42nd Birthday

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Penned A Heartbreaking Message To Kobe On What Would Have Been His 42nd Birthday

Tommaso Boddi / Stringer

Over seven months have passed since basketball great Kobe Bryant lost his life alongside his daughter Gigi and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. In the months since his death fans have paid tribute to the former shooting guard who left behind three other daughters and his wife Vanessa and watched as his family has slowly attempted to pick up the pieces of their lives without them. Since then, they’ve celebrated holidays and their own birthdays.

For the first time, over the weekend, the Bryants celebrated Kobe’s birthday.

On Sunday, Vanessa Bryant shared a heart-wrenching message to her late husband and daughter on what would have been Kobe’s 42nd birthday.

“To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh,” she wrote in a post on Instagram.”I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.”

Bryant went on to open up about her struggles to move on since her husband and daughter’s deaths which occurred this past year on January 26.

“Our lives feel so empty without you and Gigi. I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter. I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them. They put a smile on my face everyday,” Vanessa wrote.”I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”

Vanessa ended her post by thanking her late husband for showing her true love and for loving her “enough to last several lifetimes.”

“I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always,” Bryant finished the post.

Fans of the Bryants were quick to commemorate him all throughout Sunday.

To celebrate Kobe, the Lakers celebrated Kobe’s birthday by sharing a reel of his game highlights. Nike also took part by debuting a commercial titled “Better | Mamba Forever.” The ad was narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar and was launched for what the shoe company is calling “Mamba Week.”

“Kobe taught us to be better,” Lamar recalled in the ad which features video and audio of Kobe, scenes from the Black Lives Matter protests, and clips of Nike-sponsored athletes and fans he inspired with his talent.

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Meet Karolina Ramírez: The Twelve-Year-Old Basketball Sensation Who Can Play On A Pogo Stick

Fierce

Meet Karolina Ramírez: The Twelve-Year-Old Basketball Sensation Who Can Play On A Pogo Stick

karolinabball / Instagram

Karolina Ramírez is only twelve years old but her basketball game is being compared to professionals.

The athlete, whose Instagram account proudly displays both Puerto-Rican and Polish flags, has been lauded as an Instagram legend for her ability to perform all sorts of basketball tricks while also nailing incredible shots. In 2018, she gained attention when her basketball skills were highlighted by Google Cloud for a television commercial during the NCAA national championship game. In 2018, she was also featured on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” for their “Amazing Kids Week” segment.

Today, her skills are still going strong and she shows no signs of slowing down.

Ramírez has been playing basketball since she was 4.

“I started getting into basketball when I was 4-years-old and I would just go to the gym and I would pick up basketballs that they had there and I would shoot on smaller hoops,” the young basketball star told BuzzFeed in a recent feature. “And then once I started getting older I started playing rec leagues, travel teams and I just started doing drills that are more intense. Things you need more skills to do.”

To hone and sharpen her skills, Ramírez practices 5 to 6 times per week.

“I got into tricks and got into a whole bunch of different skills that could be used in the game and in different competitions and stuff,” the athlete, who trains up to two hours per training session, explained.

For the Google Cloud TV ad, Ramírez’s talents were chosen from thousands of submitted video clips.

According to TC Palm, the video chosen for the ad was recorded at Flagler Park, Orlando, and quickly went viral.

When it comes to pursuing her dreams, Ramírez says that everyone should also shoot their shot.

Speaking about pursuing passions, Ramírez said “If you are having fun with what you’re doing and you really like it then dont give up and just keep doing what you’re doing.”

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