Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops

book coverIf the above phrase means anything to you (or even if it doesn’t), I strongly recommend Rafe Bartholomew’s, Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball.

Bartholomew is an avid basketball fan who won a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to the Philippines to investigate the massive popularity of basketball there that, prior to this book, had been almost completely undocumented.

He uncovers the fascinating history of how Filipinos were indoctrinated to basketball in the early 20th Century by their American occupiers and how this flourished into perhaps the biggest group of basketball fans outside of the United States.

From pick-up games played in flip-flops or bare feet on neighborhood courts to professional matches of the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA), Bartholomew captures the love of the game of the Filipino people. Many jeepneys in the Philippines sport the emblem of an NBA team or American basketball heros like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and even Clyde Drexler

Pacific Rims combines sports journalism, cultural history, and anthropological study. It gives a first-person account of a scholar and basketball fanatic meeting people on the other side of the world who love the game as much as he does. It is a look into the relatively unknown modern world of the Philippines through the lens of a popular American sport.

Fans of basketball and those interested in learning about current Filipino culture shouldn’t miss out on Pacific Rims.


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