Bad management. Lack of support. Lack of interest. Division. Those are some of the words that tend to characterize Mexican basketball in the last decades.
Added to an internal battle about to whom basketball belongs, the two finals reached by the women's and men's teams are a breath of fresh air that show that beyond the fights and the power grabs of the officials, the talent is ready to respond.
The tournament risked not even occurring, as 20 days before the games there was not even a preliminary roster. However, it has been full of surprises for the Mexican public. The locals have been well-represented and have shown support for a sport that has been hit hard by critics.
Beyond the color of the medal, Mexico is already a winner. The nation has found a group of men — and women — with passion, dedication and fight, something that lacks in the officials, who are dedicated to getting money at any cost from the federations.
Pan-Am basketball could mark a watershed in the future of the sport in Mexico, which took silver after losing to Puerto Rico in the gold medal game. It was not necessary to win gold to assure that the medal tasted golden in Mexico.
It is a huge accomplishment for a country that has never won gold in that event in the Pan-Am Games, though it won bronze back in the 1936 Olympics. Due to the aforementioned bad management, Mexico was not even able to participate in Rio 2007.
Unity will not come overnight, but at least know that basketball has survived the tyranny, and that it has people willing to play at the highest level.
Thumbnail photo via MexSport