NBA must hold court

Updated: Oct 03, 2019, 08:32 IST | Ronald Chettiar | Mumbai

Former Sacramento Kings star Jason Williams believes US association can help improve basketball infrastructure for the sport to progress in India

NBA great Jason Williams at India's first floating basketball court near Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Pic/Atul Kamble
NBA great Jason Williams at India's first floating basketball court near Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Pic/Atul Kamble

National Basketball Association (NBA) great Jason Williams reckons that the sport will grow in India when players have access to better infrastructure and urged NBA to develop more courts. Former Sacramento Kings star Williams, 43, was speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of India's first floating basketball court near the Bandra-Worli Sea Link yesterday.

"India needs to invest in creating proper infrastructure first. I have been here for two days and have come across only two basketball courts. And one of them is this floating court. In America, there is a court in every corner so kids can play at all times. Maybe, NBA can invest in developing the infrastructure here and that will help promote the game," said the 2006 NBA championship winner with Miami Heat.

NBA teams Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers, who arrived yesterday night and are staying at The St Regis in Parel, will be playing two pre-season games on October 4-5 at the NSCI Dome in Worli. And the former point guard believes these matches will give Indian fans the real taste of NBA.

"Having these games in India is a wonderful idea. It will help the Indian audience understand how good the NBA players are. Watching the games on TV and on the phones doesn't really do justice to see how fast and skillful these players really are," said the former Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies star.

Commenting on the general perception that Indians don't have the physical attributes to excel in basketball, Williams said it's all about passion and work ethic. "If Indians feel they don't have the height or the size or the athletic ability, those are just excuses. If you have the passion, work ethic and put in the hard work, the sky is your limit," said Williams, who was nicknamed 'White Chocolate' for his flashy style of play.

Williams felt that India still lacks the love for basketball in comparison to neighbours China and hoped that the upcoming games will ignite the passion here. "I was in China recently and they are absolutely crazy about basketball there. I don't get a sense here that people love the sport as much as they do in China. But even Americans don't love basketball as much as the Chinese do. Hopefully, these upcoming NBA games will be a step in the right direction," he concluded.

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