Why the Spurs Dribbled Barefoot on Tuesday

The San Antonio team played (and lost) to indigenous youth half their size.

By Aura Bogado Dec 04, 2013

The NBA Global Games tips off in Mexico City today, and over the next year, a dozen NBA teams will play ten games in seven countries over the next year. But the San Antonio Spurs got an early start against one of Mexico’s most coveted teams–a group of very young players from Oaxaca. 

Basketball is pretty big among indigenous people in the south of Mexico, where players often ball barefoot. Fancy kicks are both hard to find and they’re expensive, so players prefer to play without shoes. There are a growing number of young Triqui players from Oaxaca who are fast becoming serious players. It’s not always easy when they’re away from home, however–they’ve been forced to wear sneakers on the court in the US in the past, and their play was compromised as a result. Nonetheless, they won an international title in Argentina recently, where they were allowed to play barefoot.

The Spurs wanted to see what the commotion was all about, and invited the young Triqui players to a game yesterday in Mexico City–where both sides played barefoot. The Spurs played a great game, but lost 10-4. Watch the video and you’ll see why.