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The Inspiration for Papuan Basketball: Yoppi

by Senaman
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Basketball is not the most popular sport in Indonesia, including Papua. Football is still the number one sport in terms of fans, spectators and players in this country. But that doesn’t mean basketball doesn’t sell. Healthy, competitive and dramatic rivalry makes basketball a favorite sport among youth. Papua, a region known for its exceptionally talented soccer athletes, is also home to many top basketball players. Papuan youths are blessed with ideal conditions to become athletes. Created with natural conditions conducive to respiratory health and the integration of physical activity into daily activities, Papua is a suitable region for breeding athletes. Basketball did not go unnoticed by the Papuans. Talent seekers in excellent physical condition to become a professional basketball player can start a guerilla campaign in Papua. One Papuan basketball talent that is not widely known is Yoppi France Giay.

Yoppi, nicknamed Yoppi France Giay, was discovered by one of Indonesia’s professional basketball clubs, Satya Wacana. The club, which is also affiliated with Satya Wacana University in Salatiga, Central Java, sees Yoppi’s potential. His height of 187 cm is above the average height of Indonesian people, so Yoppi can adapt to the highest level of Indonesian basketball. At first, Yoppi only played for his school’s basketball team. After graduation, Yoppi offered to play in Satya Wacana and at the same time did his university education there. Yoppi received a three-year contract and a scholarship to study for a master’s degree.

Yoppi’s amazing physique is not just a figment of the imagination. One of Yoppi’s skills that surprised Indonesian basketball fans was his ability to do a slam dunk. In Indonesia, it is still rare for basketball players, even in the professional world, to play like Yoppi. In the first season with Satya Wacana, Yoppi participated in the Slam Dunk Contest and received high marks from the judges.

After a three-year contract with Satya Wacana, Yoppi returned to Papua to complete his studies, which were put on hold to focus on a professional basketball career. Although his career was relatively short, Yoppi was the first pioneer to pave the way for Papuan basketball players to reach the professional level. Yoppi is currently still busy in the world of basketball, namely as a coach and talent scout who will send the best basketball talents from Papua to around Indonesia. With a visible influence, Yoppi later became an inspiration to young Papuan basketball players who started their professional careers. When asked who inspired them, they all agreed that Yoppi France Giay was the inspiration that gave them the courage to train harder to compete in the professional levels.

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