Hispanic-only basketball league launched in Richmond

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A 29-year-old San Pablo man has started a Hispanic-only basketball league in Richmond called Liga De Basketball Hispana.

Jorge Cervantes says he started the league, the only one like it in the Richmond area, to offer Hispanics a safe and guaranteed place to play basketball. He says folks from his community are often intimidated away from playing pick-up games locally.

“You think Hispanics and you think soccer, not basketball,” he said. “But we happen to have really good talent who love to play basketball.”

Cervantes and a large group from his community have already been meeting up to play ball, so starting a league wasn’t too difficult. A member of the Hilltop YMCA, Cervantes inquired how he could start his league at the YMCA and was connected with a manager.

He presented the manager his plans for the league and a deal was struck for use of the YMCA gym. Liga De Basketball Espana uses the gym for games on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The league’s first set of games occurred Sunday, May 29.

Cervantes says another plus about the league is its affordability. For 10 weeks, the cost is $450 per team, roughly half the cost of other leagues, he said. The league currently has roughly 60 players and six teams and is seeking more participants.

Cervantes hopes to establish the league as a nonprofit serving low-income community members. His league will provide a positive and healthy activity for residents.

“While this is a one-time-a-week league, it will inspire these teams to work out [throughout the week].”

The teams are going to want to win, earn the trophy at the end and, most importantly, bragging rights, Cervantes said.

“That’s everything,” he said.

For those wanting to join, contact Cervantes at jorgecsf@yahoo.com.

Photo of Hilltop YMCA gymnasium courtesy of the Hilltop YMCA Facebook page.

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