Explore

What It’s Like To Be Mistaken For An NBA Player In The Philippines

By DeAnna Taylor

Share

Girmay is from Seattle, Washington where he works as an attorney and with a non-profit that he co-founded.

He recently took a trip to the Philippines, Manila specifically, and it turned out to be an interesting experience. He shares with us what happened.

TN: Why did you initially travel to Manila?

Girmay: We went to Manila for my close friend’s bachelor party.

Photo courtesy of Girmay

TN: What did you learn about the culture as it relates to sports?

Girmay: One thing I learned on this trip is that basketball is huge in the Philippines. There are basketball courts and hoops every few blocks, even on the more remote islands. Children all over wear NBA jerseys and practice their favorite player’s signature moves. When I told kids I’m from Seattle, some of them shouted “Seattle SuperSonics!”, a team that left the city and become inactive way before many of them were born. I was blown away.


Since I’m tall and Black, many children would run up to me in Manila and ask if I played basketball or was in the NBA. My favorite day of the whole trip was when a group of kids invited my friends and me to play basketball with them on the street. I loved seeing them laugh and cheer every time we scored a basket. I loved seeing their crossovers and jump shots. A crowd even formed around us and joined in the cheering.

Photo courtesy of Girmay

TN: How did the joke about you being a famous basketball player start?

Girmay: When we were in a nightclub on New Year’s Eve, I think one of my friends may have jokingly told someone we had a couple of basketball players in our group. That rumor spread like wildfire and the rest of the night was full of funny reactions to people thinking we were professional basketball players.

Related: Why Are Black Travelers Always Mistaken For Celebrities

TN: What are some of the crazy things that happened after your newfound fame?

Girmay: Lots of people approached me and asked for autographs and pictures. The DJ gave me the microphone to speak to the audience, at which point I just congratulated my friend for getting engaged. “Congratulations, Pradeep, everybody make some nooooooise!” People would walk by me and make a basketball shooting motion. The security guards escorted me to the restroom to make sure I didn’t get swarmed by fans. In the restroom, people stopped me to take selfies. Outside the nightclub, people stopped me to take more selfies. Crowds would form around us on the dance floor and cheer us on. Oh, what a time to be alive.

Photo courtesy of Girmay

 

TN: When you finally realized that the locals thought you were famous, how did you react?

Girmay: It wasn’t immediately clear to me that’s what was happening. When people walked up to shake my hand, smiled at me from across the room, or security guards escorted me to the bathroom, I kept thinking to myself, “people are so nice here!” Once I eventually figured it out, I couldn’t stop laughing. The rest of the night was hilarious.

TN: Do you think you will go back to Manila to continue your famous life?

Girmay: I would definitely revisit Manila. I had a great time. I don’t think this would happen again though. It was just funny a rumor that spread too fast.

Photo courtesy of Girmay

TN: Where can we find you on social media?

Girmay: My Instagram handle is @girmay.

Share
Travel Noire

DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Black Barber Opens Harlem’s First Mobile Barbershop

Black Barber Opens Harlem’s First Mobile Barbershop

Gentrification in New York has affected a lot of residents and business owners like Linwood Dillard III. After losing his barbershop in Harlem, Dillard turned a Ford E-350 into Harlem’s first mobile barbershop. The self-proclaimed “Da Barber Godd” trims beards, does lineups and offers other barber services right from his bus on Lenox Ave. Championed […]

Rachel George

The Audacious Beauty of Nassau’s History of Emancipation

The Audacious Beauty of Nassau’s History of Emancipation

Written by: Arielle Gray You don’t tame the sea. You learn how to ride it the way birds take to wind.  This concept is a way of life in the Caribbean. The Bahamas is a place where ships wrecked on the rocks and reefs, an inevitable, lush green stop on the Trans Atlantic slave trade.  […]

Travel Noire

Sailing Seychelles With  Yacht Week East Africa Left This Girl From Kentucky With A Lifetime Of Memories

Sailing Seychelles With Yacht Week East Africa Left This Girl From Kentucky With A Lifetime Of Memories

Written by: Krista Hayes I’m from Lexington, Kentucky where boating is mostly a weekend activity during the summer, only for the privileged. For the sons and daughters of wealthy horse breeders, business possessors, descendants of bourbon-distillery founders and ritzy home-owners who live in the same glamorous neighborhood as John Calipari. Even though my life as […]

Travel Noire