For three days, from 3 July to 6 July, the basketball courts at the American Embassy School in New Delhi rung with the sounds of pounding feet, cheering from the grandstands and the elusive swish of the basketball net. The US’ National Basketball Association (NBA), in participation with the Basketball Federation of India, hosted Basketball Without Borders, a development and outreach programme that brings young players from around Asia to interact with and learn from NBA players and coaches.
Players arrived from Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Japan, Lebanon, and all over India to participate in coaching sessions with NBA players, such as the LA Lakers’ Ronny Turiaf and dunking legend Dominique Wilkins. NBA international director Brooks Meek says that this year they chose to hold the camp in India, instead of China, where they normally hold it, because they didn’t want to overlap with the Olympics. He says it was serendipitous as NBA hopes to build their brand further in India. It also coincides with the Indian Basketball League’s (IBL) hope to start a national basketball league in the fall. Arjun Singh, a 16-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, participated in the camp and said learning American skills was the best part about the camp. He hopes to play in the IBL for Bangalore.
]Along with coaching, NBA players managed to have some extracurricular fun, playing video games and table tennis. The NBA players also hosted workshops for children and women players. Wilkinson even managed to get in a bit of dribbling practice with two-year-old Ranbir Singh.