‘Kids need to have desire to play’

| | New Delhi

Former NBA player Kevin Martin urged the kids to take the initiative upon themselves to get out of their house and go to a nearby basketball court to play the game often.

"Me and my friends started at the age of six or seven years of old. We were playing on our neighbourhood basketball courts and we enjoyed it. We developed a bond and that's a big reason why I had the chance to make it into NBA," Kevin said after conducting a Reliance Foundation Jr NBA clinic with kids at St Paul's School, Safdarjung, recently.

When asked what has to be done to improve the level of the sport in the country, he said, "I think they have to do something new. We have to get people on board. They have to get out of their house, get to the playground and play basket ball. The kids have to take it upon themselves, the desire to get to the playground and play," he added.

As far as India is concerned, Satnam Singh is the first player from the country to be drafted into the NBA when the Dallas Mavericks chose him with the 52nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

"I didn't get a chance to meet him (Satnam), but it goes beyond words to getting drafted in the NBA. It's pretty special to getting drafted in it and now the kids have a role model to look upto. He travelled the tough road to get drafted in NBA so I think it's pretty special," said the 34-year-old American.

When asked whether India have the level to get drafted into NBA, Kevin quickly replied, "Yes."

"Now that you can get drafted from anywhere so I think it's the first step. You think these kids have lots of potential. I think the more they join the junior NBA programme and NBA academy India, you will see more kids in NBA. There will be a lot of special moments in the future," he explained.

Martin had special words reserved for Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings. "I would have to say Oklahoma City Thunder, having played with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. We set our franchise recording win in that season, which was 61. That's a very special season on the court. But off the court, I would have to give it to Sacramento Kings because of the community, just the way they embraced me as a 21-year-old kid and it was a special moment. I think Sacramento city and organisation gave me the first chance to play in NBA," he said on being asked which among the teams he played as the best of the lot.

Meanwhile, Kevin also added that he enjoyed his maiden visit to India earlier this month.



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