What Sports Are Popular in Panama?

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Baseball is Panama’s most popular sport, and basketball and boxing follow in popularity. Baseball is Panama’s national sport, and four Panamanians are in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

During the first year of the Major League Baseball World Series, Panama became an independent country. A treaty with U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt stated that Panamanians born on a Canal Zone in Panama were considered U.S. citizens, and the American-originated sport quickly became popular in Panama. Panama fields a national baseball team that plays in international events, along with numerous regional teams and leagues. Over 140 Panamanian players have played on professional baseball teams in the United States, topping the list of Central American countries, with Pat Scantlebury being the first Panamanian-born player to play Major League Baseball in 1956. Other notable players from Panama to play in the United States are Carlos Ruiz, Rod Carew, Mariano Rivera, Manny Sanguillen and Bruce Chen.

Notable Panamanian boxers are Panama Al Brown, Roberto Duran and Ismael Laguna, while Guillermo Jones and Anselmo Moreno are two Panamanian world boxing champions. Panama also has regional basketball teams along with a national team that competes internationally, and Rolando Blackman from Panama is a four-time NBA All-Star.