Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba. I’m drawn to the island for many reasons: the colliding of colonial and Art Deco architecture, the natural beauty of the island and its beautiful, expressive people living with flair and flavor despite impoverished conditions. I admit that the unique nature of its recent history is somewhat romantic as well.
A group of us from the NBA were there to give Cuban players clinics, camps and court refurbishments. This trip was really about giving back to young players who have never had this type of opportunity. The players were a lot of fun to work with and the Cuban people were incredibly warm and hospitable.
I gave shoes that my kids have outgrown to children I met in the streets. Their joy at receiving something “new” was incredibly moving and definitely a highlight of the trip.
It was also a beautiful thing to share with my kids when I returned home and felt their pride in doing something for someone else. My four-year-old son, Matteo, asked if we could call the little boys by phone so he could say hi.
I’ve been home for a few days now, but the memories of my short visit still linger. The food, music and dancing. A warm breeze, salt air and tall palms. Constant mirages of a bygone era. These moments captured my imagination and continue to provide a strong allure, especially in the 500-year-old capital city.
It will be interesting to see how these wonderful people will experience change over the coming years as the country’s relationship with America relaxes. I understand that Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution is a polarizing subject, so this isn’t where I’ll choose sides. I simply want to share with you some photos of a magical country I was lucky enough to visit last week.
Click here to view my full gallery of photos from my trip to Cuba.