I guess you don’t need a sweet pair of Air Jordan’s to win a basketball tournament.
A team of Trique Indian boys, most of which were barefoot, cleaned house at a recent basketball tournament in Mexico.
The team is from Oaxaca, a southern state in Mexico, and became the 2013 champions of the International Festival of Mini-Basketball held in Argentina.
Not only did the boys overcome their opponents without shoes, but they were also lacking in the height department. But unlike Skee-Lo, these boys didn’t need to wish they were a little bit taller to become ballers.
According to Ernesto Merino, one of the coaches and a Trique Indian, because of their shortcomings, many of the other teams in the tournament referred to the Trique Indian boys as ”the barefoot mice from Mexico.” Merino added that to make up for their short stature the boys had ”strength, speed and resistance.”
Even though the boys are given shoes once they join a basketball team, many of them choose not to wear them because they are used to doing everything barefoot. Merino said that many of them grow up in large, poor families that can’t afford clothes or shoes. He added, ”For them it’s normal to not have shoes, to walk barefoot.”
The pride created by the team didn’t stop once the tournament was over. During Wednesday’s meeting of Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies, everyone spent a minute applauding the boys on the floor for their win.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto even took to his Twitter to announce how proud he was of the team and their accomplishments.
Las victorias del equipo triqui de la Academia de Baloncesto Indígena de Oaxaca son un orgullo para los mexicanos: http://t.co/83fcJH0ygd
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) October 17, 2013
Which when translated says, ”The victories of the Trique Indian team from Oaxaca’s Academy of Indigenous Basketball make Mexicans proud.”
The boys from the team are part of a program designed to help the poor of Oaxaca. To join the team, the children must help with chores at home, have good grades, and speak their native tongue. Once in the program, the Oaxaca state government gives the boys uniforms, a monthly $46 stipend, and shoes. Said Merino about the program, ”We see a basketball as an opportunity to grow in life. We want them to be prepared in life.”