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Mexico comes together for the development of Mini Basketball
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Mexico comes together for the development of Mini Basketball

SONORA, Mexico — It all started with a thought. A hope. A dream. Basketball leaders from Sonora and the world crossed paths and the exact moment for this to come true arrived. Finally, the 2019 Mini Basketball Festival of the Americas in Mexico came to be. It was a unanimous “yes” by the International Basketball Foundation and FIBA that determined that it would happen in Hermosillo, a city in the Mexican state of Sonora.

And this is all for the children of the Americas who love this sport, and who are now coming together under a new philosophy for mini basketball in towns, cities and nations in both continents.

The Governor of the State of Sonora, Claudia Pavlovich Arellano, approved —through the Commission of Sonora Sports (CODESON, for its Spanish acronym) General Director, Genaro Enriquez— this great project presented by the President of the Sonora Basketball Mexican Sports Association, Cristóbal Vargas Ibarra.

“I'm happy because everyone lived an unforgettable experience in Mexico; this is the right path for children to enjoy basketball and fall in love,” added Cristóbal Vargas Ibarra, who also commented: “For me it was always a dream to create and develop a sports event for mini basketball where an environment of celebration and coexistence prevails, where the values of the sport are reinforced. This is the right path for all girls and boys from the whole world can practice basketball. Taking out the pressure exerted by coaches and parents away was fabulous and didn't leave out the natural competition that they portray in the court.”

And like this, everything is getting ready for the great event that, not only included the continents’ girls and boys, but also featured the “FIBA Mini Basketball Congress of the Americas 2019”, with 9 experts talking to coaches and parents so that they get to know more about this great stage of learning and transformation in mini basketball, especially considering that they are the main mentors to the children that participate in it.

Also participating in the event's organization were Mexican Basketball Sports Association (ADEMEBA, for its Spanish acronym), representing Mexico, Sonora and Hermosillo; the Government Offices of the State of Sonora (CODESON, the Department of Health, the Department of Public Safety,
the National System for the Development of Families (DIF Sonora), the Sonora Institute of Culture, the Department of Education and Culture), and the Municipality of Hermosillo (Municipal Institute of Arts and Culture, Economic and Tourism Development, Municipal Public Safety, Public Lighting, Civil Protection), as well as the Office of Conventions and Visitors of Hermosillo (OCV Hermosillo).

“I'm truly happy to support events like these, where our children can enjoy and learn with mini basketball values such as teamwork and discipline, and where they also coexist creating friendship bonds. This is especially significant in a world where it’s more and more complicated, and this helps them to become better people,” stated Claudia Pavlovich Arellano, governor of the State of Sonora.

The FIBA federations and affiliate delegates made their part in the international promotion, and all of them together worked to turn everything into real actions, turning a dream into a reality.
The support of the International Basketball Foundation, led by Florian Wanninger and FIBA President Horacio Muratore, was unconditional throughout the entire project.

The program began with a Welcome Dinner on January 30. That was the first time that the assistant teams, speakers, authorities and FIBA and IBF Foundation came together.

On January 31, in the renovated facilities of Arena Sonora, the Congress began with 25 delegates of several national federations, and that same day in the afternoon, the Festival began in the facilities of the State of Sonora’s Parque Infantil, with an attendance of more than 5,800 people.

“We're delighted to live such an unforgettable experience for everyone who loves mini basketball, and I believe that this is the right path for our girls and boys to develop in our country, avoiding the desertion of sports. After so many years it was a dream come true to build, enjoy and live an event where sports values prevailed above personal interests,” analyzed Horacio Lamas, a legendary Mexican player who was the first to play in the NBA, with the Phoenix Suns.

“Hermosillo sent a message to Mexico and the world that this is the road for mini basketball, and, above all, it gives me hope. It's a starting point for our country and for Latin America, where training is essential for coaches and parents where there's already a basketball evolution, and we have to adopt that in our game foundations,” added the former player.

During the four days there were friendly games among all national and international teams in several facilities of the city, such as the seven courts of the Héctor Espino Sports Unit, seven courts in the Northeastern Sports Unit,
There were more than 4,000 people present at Closing Day in Centro de Usos Múltiples to see the ceremony that awarded 2,300 medals — one for each participating girl or boy.

Mario Méndez, COCABA President-elect, stated after the awards ceremony that “the only road possible is to develop coaches with an adequate methodology that corresponds to the children’s development process. The most important thing at that age is to develop a sense of belonging, of feeling included and equal, and this is the age and moment for mini basketball.”

And that's how these two great events took place, with Hermosillo, Mexico as the witness of the building process and the transformation of a new way of experiencing and playing mini basketball in the world.