Cuban flag raised in Washington DC as US and Cuba reopen their embassies for the first time in more than 50 years.
Havana, Cuba – People in Cuba have been relishing the easing of relations with the US, particularly through a shared passion that is basketball.
In one Havana street corner, a group started playing basketball and it has now grown into a vibrant, well-organised league, independent of the influence of the Cuban state.
The league has received support from Full Court Peace, one of a growing number of US organisations rekindling ties with Cuba.
“We’re Americans, they’re Cubans but on the court we can be friends,” said Mike Ryan, organiser of Full Court Peace.
The league helps keep youngsters out of trouble and for many Cubans, basketball is how they express themselves.
“When I play basketball, I’m in tune with myself, with how my body works and I’m far from the temptations of vice in society,” Etian Arnau, a basketball player from Havana, said.
“It forces me to develop my mind since basketball is the most creative of sports. We’re always creating.”
On the streets of Havana, the sport has its own unique style.
The use of creativity to establish courts wherever there is adequate space is visible. And so is the flexibility to adapt the rules to make it a tougher and more aggressive game.