Some historical facts about NBA in the Philippines
The love affair between the Philippines and basketball dates back to the early 20th century, making it one of the oldest basketball strongholds outside the United States. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has recognized the Philippines as a significant market and has taken various steps to engage Filipino fans.
- Early Exposure: Basketball was introduced to the Philippines by the YMCA early in the American colonial period. The sport quickly took root, setting the stage for the country’s later fascination with the NBA.
- First NBA Game in the Philippines: In 2013, the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers played a pre-season game in Manila, marking the first time NBA teams played in the country.
- NBA Cafe: The NBA opened its first themed restaurant in Manila in 2014. Though it later closed, the cafe was an example of the NBA’s efforts to market itself in the Philippines.
- Filipino Heritage Week: The NBA has celebrated Filipino Heritage Week, acknowledging the strong support it receives from the country. Events have included special broadcasts and community outreach programs.
- Filipino Players: Though no Filipino has yet played in an NBA regular-season game, several players of Filipino descent, like Jordan Clarkson and Raymond Townsend, have made an impact in the league.
- NBA League Pass: Recognizing the demand, the NBA has made it easier for fans in the Philippines to watch games through NBA League Pass, allowing them to stream games live.
- Basketball Clinics: The NBA frequently conducts basketball clinics and outreach programs in various parts of the Philippines to cultivate the sport at the grassroots level.
- Local Partnerships: The NBA has engaged in partnerships with Philippine corporations and broadcasters to make games and merchandise more accessible to fans.
The NBA’s relationship with the Philippines showcases the global appeal of the league and the deep-rooted love for basketball in the country.