Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mexico City Deserves Another NBA Opportunity in 2014

What a disappointment in Mexico City last night, as a fire from a generator filled the new 18,000 seat arena with smoke and the first ever regular season NBA game in Mexico was cancelled.

The San Antonio Spurs versus the Minnesota Timberwolves was ready to become a historic moment.  Unfortunately, the historic moment was a forgettable one.

As a big Spurs fan, I was truly excited to see the game because of the international spotlight, the Spurs are playing well with their aging stars and Minnesota would be a big challenge and because of the intrigue a Mexico crowd would bring.  I thought the crowd would be cheering on the Spurs for sure because of San Antonio's proximity to Mexico and because of Manu Ginobili.

Ginobili is the biggest star from Latin America in the history of the NBA.

I think there would have been a lot of Tony Parker jerseys in the crowd and plenty of Ricky Rubio ones, as well.  The international players tend to be more popular outside of the United States.

Mexico needs a redo on this event.  This was a heartbreaking, ill-timed, unpredictable moment.

NBA arenas have not suffered any kind of similar fate with smoke from fires cancelling games, but anything can happen and I'm sure something undesirable will eventually take place. It's impossible to say what it will be.  In the most recent Super Bowl in New Orleans, there was an hour-long delay because of a power outage.  So, the U.S. is not immune to the atypical stadium occurrence.

The blunder from last night may add to and distort the reputation Mexico has as a second-world country.  Many people will take what happened and casually blame it on the country's complete incompetence: It is a generally a poor people's society run by drug smugglers and drug kingpins.

It is true that Mexico does have drug Mafia problems and that it's economy is and has been bad for generations.

One dark moment happened at a club soccer event in Mexico's First Division a couple years back when somebody starting shooting a gun in the stadium and players and fans ran for protection from the deranged shooter.

But, it is also true that there are many places and cities in Mexico steeped with culture, diverse populations and progressive technology.

It is also true that Mexico has some of the best sports fans in the world.  The arena was sold out for the game last night.

Traditionally, Mexico has been an excellent sporting host.  It hosted the 1968 Olympics and the 1970 and 1986 World Cups.

The NBA is probably looking at Mexico City as a potential franchise for the future.  This would be a unique and refreshing element to add to the NBA.  It would probably also be an important step in helping to restore better relations and mutual confidence among the U.S. and Mexico (basketball diplomacy).  We would be sharing basketball together and not accusing each other of drug and immigration abuses.

I'd like to see the Spurs versus the T-Wolves try again in the 2013-14 season.

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