By Tim Jimenez

Basketball has seen incredible growth overseas throughout the years. It’s why the U.S doesn’t dominate the Olympics on the level the Dream Team did.

European players like Dirk Nowitzki and Manu Ginobili joined the ranks of the world’s best. The recently retired Yao Ming became a major ambassador of the game to China and throughout Asia.

Basketball is a global game but there’s one country that doesn’t get a lot of attention for its love of hoops and that is the subject of this week’s podcast. Recently, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and a team of NBA stars traveled to the Philippines for a couple of exhibition games. If you’re curious as to the type of reaction they got, think David Hasselhoff in Germany.

So, joining me on Talkin’ Hoops is Rafe Bartholomew, author of Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball.

On a Fulbright Scholarship, Rafe decided to go to the Philippines, thousands of miles away from the comfort of his hometown of New York City, assimilate into the culture and find out how basketball made its way to the hearts of the Filipino people.

In Part One, Rafe talks about why he decided to study basketball in the Philippines, the quirks of the Philippine Basketball Association, and a coach who has become a master of the triangle offense.

Listen to part 1 of the interview…

In Part Two, Rafe talks about his brief stint as a Filipino soap opera actor and the celebrity that followed. (Seriously!) He also talks about the buzz created by the visit from the NBA stars and the return of one of the country’s favorite sons.

Listen to part 2 of the interview…

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