He was a Basketball player and made the national junior team until an injury ruled him out of the competition. But the passion for this sport has taken him even further. He coached some of the biggest national teams, also in the United States, and as a commentator, for 25 years, visited the locker room of the mythical team of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Now he promotes the sport he loves in a completely different setting. Our guest this week is Carlos Barroca, NBA‘s vice-president of operations for Asia.

The way he learned the sport that changed his life is worthy of a movie. We were in the 60s in Mozambique, a young Carlos Barroca was watching a football game at school with his older colleagues and, of course, couldn’t play because he was younger. At one point someone kicks the ball too hard and it leaves the field, to which little Carlos decides to run after it until he finds a strange place, with a metal structure, a target and a net. He didn’t know what it was, but he was already trying to put the ball in the basket while his teammates waited for the ball.

From that day on, the life of Carlos Barroca was dedicated above all to his passion, Basketball. And it is this passion that brings us to this conversation and that, he admits, would command his life.

“I never had much insight into what was going to happen after what I was doing. The course of my life was carried by the heart more than by the mind, because the reasons of the heart spoke louder.” – Carlos Barroca

Today, he is “the” person in Portugal with whom we talk about Basketball. From the invention of Basketball by a PE teacher in Massachusetts, using two baskets of peaches, so that students could play sports during an especially cold winter, to the internationalization of sports due to US military expansion around the world, Carlos Barroca is an authentic sports encyclopedia.

“I remember 35 years ago being on the Pico island and some gentlemen older than me, now maybe they’re my age, take me to a threshing floor in Pico where there was a Basketball table. A curiosity, at the time no pictures were taken and there were no cell phones like today. I was thinking ‘but how did this Basketball table get here?’ So it was the first generation of Azorean immigrants who, upon returning from the US, and they lived in San Diego, brought this Basketball thing. The best place to put it was on a threshing floor in the parish council of São João where it had an almost centenary Basketball table.” – Carlos Barroca

In this week’s episode, Carlos Barroca recounts the difficulties in his adaptation to the United States, how he became a commentator, what distinguishes sports in the United States from the way we live and play it in Europe, particularly in Portugal, and also about his work as vice-president of operations at NBA for Asia.

“We work with teachers to teach with a smile on our lips, to teach to teach positively, to teach to teach that there is always a chance to be a good teacher or a bad teacher, depends on the attitude one takes towards its students. Teach to listen, and teach that sports is to lift people up and not to diminish them. Teach that sports and Basketball are a school of humanity and good values. There is no discrimination in any way, and to teach that everyone fits into what is to teach well. And therefore, this leads us to have today more than 100,000 teachers with whom we work on a day-to-day basis, and of these 100,000 teachers work directly with more than 26 million kids.” – Carlos Barroca

Don’t miss this episode, already available on platforms where you normally listen to your podcasts. You can also find this episode in the links below.