TFC News

AMAZN HQ's All-Star Showcase celebrates AAPI month

Steve Angeles | TFC News California

Posted at May 25 2023 11:09 PM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Professional and aspiring basketball players took part in AMAZN HQ's All-Star Showcase in California to mark the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Amazn HQ began when Indian-American Pranav Iyer, a former college football player-turned-journalist, wanted to highlight Asian-American athletes.

After a few interviews featuring Asian-American student athletes in 2019, Amazn HQ gained traction on social media.

Since then, it has grown with athletes submitting their stories, and with the platform celebrating the achievements of athletes from high school to the pros.

"I really started this to shine a light on so many untold stories in our community," said Iyer. "What we're doing here is hopefully to change the societal narrative of what it means to be an Asian-American athlete."

Iyer added: "When it comes to the mainstream consumer driven sports, we often see so little representation and those are the sports where role models are made."

Four years since its launch, Amazn HQ has built a movement with many Filipino-American athletes hopping on board.

This May, as the U.S. marks the AAPI Heritage Month, AMAZN HQ held its second All-Star West Showcase.

The event brought an all-star roster of college bound basketball players for some training camps, a pair of games, as well as other activities.

"It was so much fun just being able to be on the court with all these other Asian athletes," said UCSD's Sumayah Sugapong. "It was super competitive and it was a lot of fun."

Fans and athletes, meanwhile, enjoyed the games coached by Filipino-Americans Cole Micek and USC's Kayla Padilla.

"It's an honor to be here," said Micek, a 3x3 basketball player. "It's a really special showcase. I'm excited to see these athletes and watch them shine."

A special panel discussion was also held with Filipino-American NFL star Camryn Bynum of the Minnesota Vikings and the WNBA's first Korean-American player Kianna Smith.

The two shared their experiences with the youth and their families.

"Representation is big," said Bynum. "I know how big sports is in Asian culture, especially basketball. I’m a football player but I know how important basketball is especially in the Philippines."

Bynum also expressed hopes that the younger players will go pro someday. "They're coming here and showing their talent. I think it's a blessing," he added.

AMAZN heads to Toronto in June where it will hold its East Coast Showcase, which is expected to bring out and celebrate more Asian-American athletes.