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5. Basketball Warriors

La Brega

WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios

Podcast, Puerto, San, Historia, La, De, Vieques, Juan, Rico, Society & Culture, Levittown, Noticias, Brega

4.91K Ratings

🗓️ 24 February 2021

⏱️ 38 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Despite being a U.S. colony, Puerto Rico competes in sports as its own country on the world stage. Since the 70s, Puerto Rico’s national basketball team has been a pride of the island, taking home trophy after trophy. But in the 2004 at the Athens Olympics, the team was up against the odds, with an opening game against a U.S. Dream Team stacked with players like Lebron James and Allen Iverson. Futuro Media’s Julio Ricardo Varela tells the story of a basketball game that Puerto Ricans will never forget, and why he thinks now, more than ever, is a crucial moment to remember it. The documentary "Nuyorican Basquet" is here. If you want to see the famous photo of Carlos Arroyo, click here. To read more about sovereignty and sports, we recommend The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico, by Antonio Sotomayor.

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Hey quick note, there are English and Spanish episodes of La Brega.


This is the English one.


If you're excused in the spaniel,


wolver feed, and selection on the version with the title in


Espaniel. in Espaennial. Lister Supported WNY studios. Futuro.


Heads up. There's some explicit language in this episode.


In the summer of 1979, journalist Julio Ricardo Varela was 10 years old, and he was spending the summer with his dad in Rio Piedras in San Juan.


And it was the same year that the 1979 Pan American Games were happening and were being hosted in Puerto Rico.


It felt like it was our little mini Olympics. For the opening ceremony,


they commissioned this big Hollywood style musical number.


And it was so exciting, because here they were.


You were all these athletes.


And when you're 10 and you're a sports freak


like I am, that's all you were thinking about.


I mean, I was obsessed with it. I loved it. Especially he loved the Puerto Rican national basketball team.


La Selexion National.


It was just like, it was like watching your heroes and here were your heroes


ready to represent your homeland in basketball.


Puyo was born in Puerto Rico and grew up there.


But when he was in first grade,


he moved with his mom to the Bronx


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