My Baskitan / Basketball photography project has been featured in the latest edition of Smith Journal. Check out the extract below or better still buy the magazine!
Shooting Hoops
When English financier-turned-photographer @richard.james.daniels moved to the Philippines, he tried in vain to find a soccer game to watch. “I travelled to all the local bars in Cebu, the second largest city in the Philippines,” he says, “but couldn’t find a single football match. Every TV was showing basketball.”⁣

Daniels quickly realised basketball wasn’t just a sport in the Philippines: it’s closer to an addiction. The game arrived after the Spanish-American War in the late 19th century – a real slam dunk for U.S. imperialism – and rapidly dribbled its way into the country’s psyche.⁣

These days, over 40 million Filipinos (around 40 per cent of the population) shoot hoops regularly. Rough-built backboards and tumbledown courts can be found in almost every village, on every beach and unused scrap of land. So Daniels decided to document them.⁣

The result is Baskitan: a seven-year project that took Daniels all over the Philippines, shooting over 200 courts in poor rural villages and the backstreets of big cities, like Cebu. These were places that often lacked electricity, running water and basic sanitation. But not basketball courts.⁣

Along the way, he found that Filipino politics and basketball often go hand-in-hand. Politicians would leave local courts derelict for years, then sponsor shiny new facilities, coincidentally right before a big election. “In small villages, the courts are central to local communities,” he says. “The Philippines is one of the biggest Catholic countries in the world, but there are probably more hoops here than churches.”⁣

For more hoops (and plenty more non-sports-related stories), grab a copy of Smith Journal volume 32, out now.
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