Curious to learn about the popularity of basketball in the Philippines, Richard Daniels has spent the past five years taking photographs of basketball hoops in the country’s rural areas.
Basketball is the most popular sports in the Philippines. Despite the lack of sports facilities in the country, Filipinos have found ingenious ways to build basketball hoops in various odd spaces such as abandoned properties and streets.
Asked what inspired him to start this documentation project, Daniels told Global Voices that he was intrigued by the popularity of basketball in the Philippines, especially in rural areas:
As an Englishman and a football (soccer) fan I was always slightly confused as to why basketball was so popular here as opposed to football, which is massive throughout the rest of the world. My photo essay started off as a way to find out more about Filipino’s love of basketball through literally shooting hoops. I was also more interested in the aesthetic and the culture behind the grassroots courts and hoops of the poorer villages rather than the generic gymnasium courts in the more suburban areas.
Daniels said he was amazed to see how basketball is played by almost everybody in rural communities:
I hope that anyone who sees my project will be able to understand just how passionate the country is about basketball and how deeply entrenched the sport is in the local culture. I've seen a lot of hoops over the course of the project but it still amazes me to see these makeshift courts everywhere and anywhere and people of all ages playing – sometimes in only flip flops.
Daniels’ favorite photo was taken while some farmers were clearing out a land for planting:
My favorite image is the basketball court that resembles something out of the Mad Max Movies. The structure looks like it’s made from bones! Also when I took the shot the fields were on fire as the farmers where clearing the land. I think it's called slash and burn farming. That was a pretty epic shot.
Daniels hopes to find more interesting photos of basketball hoops in other parts of the country. Meanwhile, below are some of the photos by Daniels that reflect the tenacity and creativity of Filipinos who eagerly want to play basketball.