Monday, January 24th, 2022
The Tony Aguirre Latino Men’s Basketball Tournament is back for its 69th year! The annual event will be held on February 19 and 20.
The tournament is named after Tony “FISH” Aguirre, a Westsider who’s passion was using sports as a tool to teach fundamental life lessons and valuable skills. From the age of 17 he coached at Guadalupe Center when asked by a Nun, it didn’t matter what sport it was, Tony Aguirre was always the coach.
“I was on the softball team and basketball team with Tony Aguirre, he taught me all kinds of sports,” said Bebe Musquiz in the Guadalupe Centers 100 year of history documentary.
The Latino Men’s tournament was created at a time when nonwhite players were excluded from the sport. Since then, to honor the legacy of the tournament it is only open to players with Latino heritage.
Luis Alanis, Director of Youth Development and Recreation mentioned that this tournament not only honors the extravagant legacy left behind by Tony Aguirre but also provides a place for fellowship and competition within Latino ball players.
Funds from the event also go back to the youth and recreation department.
“Come and participate in our tournament for the sake of the investment in our youth, because that’s the future.” Luis.
Mike Aguirre, 35, Nephew of Tony Aguirre has participated in the tournament since he was 16. He takes pride in the tournament because of his uncle’s unmatched legacy, and because he is able to follow the footsteps of many family members who also participated in the event.
At the age of 18 Mike became first Kansas City player to win Most Valuable Player at the tournament, catching the eyes of Penn Valley who then gave him a scholarship.
“I’ve been balling my whole life,” said Aguirre, for a while now he has been coaching 5-year-old son and fourth grade daughter’s basketball team, however this will be Mike’s first year playing in the 35 and older division and is extremely confident that they will take the win.
Aguirre mentioned that the vibe of the tournament was very competitive, but also social with friends, foes, and families. When asked why he continues to participate whether in the game or on the committee he said “I’m never gonna let this pass up. I want this competition to continue and be as great as it can be.”
P.S. Tony Aguirre Nickname FISH stood for Friendship, Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Honor.