HoopsHype Mexico rumors

February 3, 2014 Updates
December 8, 2013 Updates

The cancellation of the Spurs-Timberwolves game Wednesday in Mexico City because of smoke in the arena caused by a generator malfunction was a small blow to commissioner David Stern’s quest to play additional games in other countries. While games in London have gone off without a glitch, an NBA regular-season game in Mexico City was risky from the start and the Spurs and Timberwolves must now reschedule the game for Minneapolis, much to the chagrin of San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. Both teams wasted valuable travel time to get to Mexico City, so the league is obviously going to think twice about returning there. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who will assume Stern’s duties in February, told the Globe last month the league plans to play more games in other countries but a potential expansion team in Europe may be years away. Boston Globe

But the opponents that the "shoeless" Triqui boys (also dubbed the "barefoot mice" because of their short stature) faced on Tuesday night were an upgrade over the teams they bested in the six games of the 2013 Champions of the International Festival of Mini-Basketball. The pint-sized cagers from Oaxaca’s Academy of Indigenous Basketball took on the San Antonio Spurs, who had come to Mexico City as part of the NBA Global Games. The game was played barefoot, which evidently gave the barefoot mice an advantage. They defeated the mighty Spurs 10-4. Let's go to the videotape: Indian Country Today Media Network

December 7, 2013 Updates
December 5, 2013 Updates

Both the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves have left for home after their scheduled game was called off as smoke filled the Mexico City Arena when both sides were warming up. The incident was caused by a generator malfunction outside the arena that sent thick smoke travelling through the building and 45 minutes before tip-off was due, the arena had to be evacuated. TalkBasket

Journalists from San Antonio apparently found out that the game was postponed via Twitter. There was allegedly no announcement from any NBA spokesman or arena announcers that the game was off. Jeff McDonald from the San Antonio Evening News reported that the smoke could have contained traces of cynide and arsenic. He was unable to get confirmation on that though. The players were just as baffled as to what was going on with Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio among others, completely clueless. "They just told us to leave," said the Spanish international in his native language. TalkBasket

"I thought they were practicing fireworks," Spurs TV analyst Sean Elliot said. "A lot of teams do that before introductions. But then the smoke just kept creeping and it wasn't white smoke. It was like a brown dark smoke and it started taking over the whole court. It was surprising." TalkBasket

An NBA official told AFP that the teams could not wait long because they had planned to return to the United States late on Wednesday after the game. “What happened today is a real shame. I’m really sorry for all the fans,” Spurs centre Tiago Splitter of Brazil wrote on Twitter. “We were excited to play this game. Big hugs.” Gulf News

December 4, 2013 Updates

The San Antonio Spurs lost badly Tuesday in Mexico City to a team of 4-feet-tall opponents. It wasn’t even close: 10-4. To be fair, the Spurs had to play barefoot. And they weren’t playing against any ordinary team. The kids who ran circles around the likes of shoeless NBA stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are Triqui boys from Rio Venado, a remote mountain village in one of southern Mexico’s poorest regions. Washington Post

October 17, 2013 Updates

But in recent years, crossing the U.S. border has gone from difficult to dangerous to nearly impossible, and this has thrown the Triqui world out of whack. Fewer Triquis go north. Those already on the other side are stuck there. The ones who remain behind — often grand­parents and children — live by hard-luck farming and government handouts. What’s left is basketball. “Their hunger and poverty is their potential,” said Sergio Zuñiga, the tall, soft-spoken outsider who the Triquis call “Coach.” “It is their way out,” he said. Washington Post

Not likely to the NBA. The tallest known Triqui is about 5-foot-10. But Zuñiga is in no hurry to burst the hoop dreams of the kids under his care. His goals are more modest, although still a long shot for a boy or girl from Rio Venado. Learn to read and write Spanish. Attend high school in Oaxaca, the state capital, and maybe even go on to college. Have career options beyond sneaking over the U.S. border or sharecropping a cornfield. Washington Post

Her backing helped him bring a team of Triqui kids in July to an international youth tournament in Orlando, where they beat a few U.S. teams and stunned organizers by asking to play barefoot. The kids had never been on an airplane before, let alone to another country. “Disney World,” said Daysi?Martinez, 12, when asked what she liked about the United States. “I saw a princess.” Washington Post

His teams specialize in an up-tempo, relentless style of play that compensates for their diminutive size, and their tournament victories against kids from other parts of Mexico have caught the attention of basketball coaches elsewhere. Two of Zuñiga’s assistants have recently landed coaching jobs at high schools in other states, blazing a new career path for Triquis. Washington Post

October 16, 2013 Updates

A team of Trique Indian boys from the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca are sweeping through youth basketball competitions, despite their generally short stature _ and the fact that most play barefoot. One of the Trique team coaches says many of boys can’t afford sneakers and have become accustomed to playing without them. The team won all six of its games at the recent International Festival of Mini-Basketball held in Argentina. Washington Times

October 7, 2013 Updates
September 12, 2013 Updates

Gustavo Ayón and Mexico completed their improbable run to the FIBA Americas Championship game with a 91-89 win over Puerto Rico Wednesday night. Ayón scored 20 points and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds to complete a magnificent individual tournament performance that crowned him MVP. Ayón also made the all-tournament team, averaging 17.2 points and 8.4 rebounds. Puerto Rico and Mexico exchanged leads throughout the fourth quarter, and the Puerto Ricans missed an open three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won it. hawks.com

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