NOVOSIBIRSK REGION VILLAGE: "I hope to train at least one great athlete," said Daniil, a Siberian village school basketball coach. He was taking his 2.5-year old daughter to day care on a sleigh. The number of parents taking their children around on sleighs (some are dual usage with wheels) in Novosibirsk region caught my attention. Daniil said he got into basketball as a young boy while watching Jordan, Kirilenko and later Kobe. If Daniil manages to produce a great athlete, it would be the second to come from this small village after 1984 winter Olympic medalist Sergei Bulygin.
YEREVAN, ARMENIA: The TV screens in this Yerevan coffee shop were airing an American baseball game (LA Dodgers), which is very unusual as the sport is not popular in ex-USSR. I thought that maybe the workers were Dodgers fans because many Armenians live in California. But I was told it was because the barista Pierre liked sports. Pierre, 22, told me he played professional basketball ... in Syria, where he was born to Armenian and Syrian parents. He was a foward for Al Aroube (A.G.B.U), but left 4 years ago to escape the war. He said there is little opportunity to play organized basketball in Armenia.