The game of basketball is not necessarily associated with Mexicans or Mexican Americans. In Mexico, soccer (futbol
) is the number one sport, followed by baseball. There is even professional (and collegiate) American football.
In some parts of the country, however, due to the geography, another sport, hoops has become a major part of community life. One such locale is the state of Oaxaca. When Oaxacans began coming to the United States in large numbers in the 1970s, they brought “their” game with them to locales such as Los Angeles.
The sport has now become a tool to (re)create community among Oaxacans in southern California, and elsewhere. The book Transnational Sport in the American West: Oaxaca California Basketball
(Lexington Books, 2019) by Bernardo Ramirez Rios
documents the importance of this sport to the community north of the border, as well as a mechanism to retain/strengthen ties to the homeland they have left behind.
Jorge Iber is a professor of history at Texas Tech University.