Hoops tackling football in pigskin states

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 07:15 PM

You might be interested to know that basketball actually is taking center stage in the football-crazed states of Texas and Florida — and not just this month.

The NBA Finals have been held in one or both states eight times in the last 10 years. And with youngsters seeing more basketball than ever, maybe more of them won’t want to grow up to be Cowboys.

The Spurs and Heat have been two of the NBA’s best for years. So have the Dallas Mavericks, who twice reached the finals, and the Orlando Magic also played in the 2009 finals.

The Heat’s Chris Bosh is a Dallas native and believes that could have an impact on kids.

“Maybe they’ll say, ‘Hey, I was watching the Spurs, the Mavericks, the Heat, the Magic, and I wanted to play basketball,’” Bosh said.

Some have done just that.

According to the Florida High School Athletic Association’s participation surveys, there were nearly 900 more boys basketball players in the state last year than in 2004-05. And in Texas, the National Federation of State High School Associations reported that there are 55 more high schools with boys basketball teams than there were five years ago.

But despite the bump, NBA players from those states including Miami’s Rashard Lewis, a high school star in Houston, concede that football will always be king.

The Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins are two of the power franchises in the NFL, even without the success they long enjoyed. Throw in the Florida State-Florida-Miami college trio, as well as teams such as Texas and Texas A&M, and it’s a tall mountain for basketball to climb.

Bosh played a little football when he was in the eighth grade. Then somebody laid a pretty good lick on him.

“That was in practice,” Bosh said. “I got hit, and that’s when I found out that the ground is hard, too. And it was hot, and I said, ‘Man, I don’t want to play this anymore.’”