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Mexico: A fertile ground for the NBA

75 promising young athletes from Canada and Latin America participated at the NBA Academy camp in Mexico
Mexico: A fertile ground for the NBA
The camp requires for players from different countries and cultures to compete against each other in order to improve their skills. - Photo: Cristopher Rogel Blanquet/EL UNIVERSAL
26/06/2018
13:27
Alejandro Orellana
Mexico City
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With 108 players from 42 different countries, the recently concluded season of the NBA has proven once again that globalization has reached the league.

However, Mexico had more than just one representative. The most recent was Jorge Gutiérrez, from Chihuahua, who participated at the 2016 NBA season. Mexico has had four representatives in history, which is why the NBA will seek to bring in more Mexican people thanks to a structural change supported by the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE).

The NBA gathered 75 of the most promising young athletes -51 men and 24 women- from Canada and Latin America for them to test their skills from 18 to 21 June, in company of players, former players, and coaches from the best basketball league in the world.

The league trusts that it will pave the way for future basketball stars.

The camp requires for players from different countries and cultures to compete against each other in order to improve their skills.

Horacio Llamas, first Mexican to play in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns in the 90s will be part of the coaching staff. He stated that having the NBA Academy of Latin America in Mexico was a privilege.

“This process will allow young men to become professionals since the project seeks to take us to the association’s headquarters instead of just sending a video and wait for someone to pay attention. Now we can spend time with the kids and there’s a real connection,” said the former basketball player from Sinaloa.

Llamas added that “when you join the kids from the NBA Academy with the ones from CONADE, they start realizing the level of the other participants and therefore, they try harder. The best way to stand out is to compete with everyone else.”

Thanks to these sports programs, young people have an opportunity to emigrate to the Unites States, get a scholarship, and fight for a place among the best college programs. According to Llamas, this system will allow children to want to study abroad.

While Raúl Neto, Brazilian player from the Utah Jazz, compared the situation of his home country with that of Mexico.

“It’s not easy. Brazil and Mexico don’t have an adequate framework for sports, and bringing them NBA stars and experienced coaches is just what they need.”

On this occasion, 16 year old Daniel Montiel, from Puebla, and 15 year old Bryan Ceballos, from Sonora, are the Mexican representatives at the NBA camp.

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