03/20/2012 07:41 am ET Updated May 20, 2012

The Good And Bad Of Basketball For Boricuas

Mayagüez, PR: Yesterday I was watching a basketball game here in the Mayagüez between the Caciques de Humacao and the home team, Indios de Mayagüez. From outside de Palacio de Recreation y Deporte to when I walked in you could not help notice the excitement of the over two thousand fans that were in attendance rooting for the home team. Los Indios won the game 96 - 76 tying for first place with the islands dominant powerhouse, Quebradillas with a record of 5-2.

You might say that two thousand is not a lot of fans, but when you consider that baseball here averages about eight hundred or less fans per game, two thousand screaming fans is impressive. Proof that basketball has surpassed baseball as the number one sport here on the island.

A similar trend is taking place on the mainland where a recent statistic stated that Latino youth followed the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL) over Major League Baseball (MLB). A statistic that MLB does not seem to understand since they are doing very little to attract Latino youth. Perhaps they think that they don't have to do anything because of the large percentage of players in MLB over any other league sport. They need to wake up quickly before they loose several future generations of the countries youngest and fastest growing ethnic group.

The growth of Latinos and in particular Puerto Ricans in basketball was seen in the morning sports pages here where they announced that another Puerto Rican has ascended to the ranks of the NBA. Edwin Ubiles a member of the Puerto Rican National Team who won a Gold Medal in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico signed a ten-day contract with the Washington Wizards. Ubiles would be the tenth Puerto Rican to have played in the NBA.

Ubiles has been having a good season with the Dakota Wizards in the NBA developmental League averaging 20.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 35 games played.

Another piece of news demonstrating the growth of quality Puerto Rican players is the fact that there were nine players in the NCAA games yesterday.
Unfortunately not all is positive news as one of the Puerto Rican players in the NCAA Angel Rodrígues of Kansas State accepted an apology from the President of Southern Mississippi for the racist comments heard on TV from the Schools band in Thursday's game towards Rodríguez.

Rodriguez was about to shoot a couple of foul free throws when members of the Mississippi band began chanting: "Where is your green card" in reference to the hot Federal issue questioning the immigration status of many undocumented Latinos in college.

Rodríguez is obviously more educated that members of the opposing band when he stated, "those are ignorant people who do not represent the majority of the school, or its administrators." The entire Southern Mississippi band should take Puerto Rican studies 101 classes so they could learn that Puerto Ricans are US citizens and a Psychology 101 class to lean how to be more sensitive to other cultures.

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