Claim to fame: PBA player turned internet #GirlDad
Few athletes have managed to navigate post-retirement as well as Doug Kramer. While a respectable PBA hooper in his own right, with a career that included a championship and an All-Defensive nod, Kramer carved out a larger identity as a social media personality with Team Kramer, a vlog that follows his family of five.
As the internet’s #GirlDad, Kramer was the early example that career transitions can be fun – and profitable.
What has been the biggest shock to you with how sports have grown in the Philippines?
I’ve been in basketball for the longest time, and the biggest shock would be how well-developed the kids are in terms of skill and talent.
Physically, they are a lot bigger. I’m 6’5, a power forward, so I used to play inside the paint. But now, big men have to be 6’7, 6’9, and they have to shoot from the outside and be more skilled with their dribbling. In terms of that, the Philippines has grown so much.
What defines basketball in the Philippines and makes it unique to other countries?
Basketball is the number one sport in the Philippines because it’s very accessible. You go down the street, and there’s a basketball court, whether it’s full-size or half-court. A lot of houses have smaller courts. I have one for my son, Gavin. You can put a hoop within a small space, so it’s very easy for many people.
Many can also relate [to basketball]. There are so many leagues, the PBA, NBA, and you also have growing associations in Korea and Japan that captured the curiosity of the younger generation, who now have these goals of making it into one of these leagues.
Why do you think Filipinos have such an interest in sports?
I think it’s because [sports] give us a sense of accomplishment. Filipinos are usually the smallest in basketball competitions. So it speaks to our heart when we compensate by being hardworking or with our “Never Say Die” attitude. We will give it our all no matter how big or skilled the competition is. Those are very good assets for a Filipino.
How do sports define the Filipino identity outside of its community?
It represents our identity as hard workers and our willingness to get out of our comfort zone. I’ve seen a lot of current basketball stars go out to compete in other countries, and that speaks of their drive. They want to accomplish something for themselves, their families, and their pride.
When these players leave the country to play abroad, I believe they also want to make the Philippines and their fellow Filipinos proud.
If you had known how big basketball would get, what would you have done differently five years ago?
That’s a really nice question. I retired more than three years ago, and the sport has grown even before my time, I think from 2002 to 2006, when I played for Ateneo. Our main goal was to make it to the PBA, and it’s still a great goal, but many people now prepare for other leagues as well. They eye the NBA and the international leagues in Korea and Japan.
What I would have done differently is I would’ve probably developed my dribbling and shooting skills. I know those are what these leagues and teams abroad are looking for—the more highly-skilled and talented Filipino player.
Fill in the blanks for us: Youth culture in the Philippines is defined by ______ and kept alive by _______.
Youth culture in the Philippines is defined by those who came before and kept alive by their accomplishments.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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