Mumbai: Shawn Marion is often dubbed as the most underrated player in the NBA history. The former Cleveland Cavaliers player hung up his boots in 2015 after a glittering 16 seasons in NBA.
The veteran won the NBA championship with Dallas Mavericks in 2011. The hoopster is a four-time NBA All-Star recipient, a two-time All NBA Team.
Marion is in India for the NBA-ACG Jump event, a talent search programme to select 24 young prospects for the NBA Academy India.
Nicknamed ‘The Matrix’, Marion was popularly known for his athleticism and versatility to play in different positions. The former champ spoke with us. Here are some of the excerpts.
What’s your first impression of India?
It’s a very nice place; it’s similar to Sao Paulo. I want to see more of the country, but it’s a big area and time is an issue. I can only do certain things in the limited time. I am here for the NBA academy.
What’s your assessment of young Indian cagers?
I haven’t seen much, but it’s exciting to meet the young players and to play with them. I wish the young guys good luck in trying to get to the NBA.
Based on what you have seen. Can India make it big in basketball?
This is the foundation to build upon. They have nice courts out here; they should keep the courts open throughout the day. I don’t know the culture here, but when I was growing up, I learnt quite a lot just by playing regularly, even at midnight. Basketball players here have a bright future.
What are your thoughts about Cavaliers coming back from 3-1 down to win the NBA championship?
It was a brilliant comeback, to go down 3-1 and to comeback to win it. It says the whole thing about the play-offs.
Apart from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, what helped the Cavaliers to win?
They found the way to use the bench. The coach went deeper into his bench and made some good substitutes at times. And they came in smart; the bench played its part. They helped them win the championship. The starters did a brilliant job in showing the way, but you are only going to go as far as your bench takes you. That’s what they are relying on right now.
Who do you think will win the 2016-17 title?
I do not have a pick to win the championship this season; it’s so up and down. It’s kind of scary, because you never know with these teams, what can happen. Some of the guys can get injured, injuries play a big part in saying that they are not winning.
Who is your 2017 NBA MVP pick?
Do you think Golden State Warriors can be stopped?
They are not invincible, they are a strong team, but others can beat them. It’s going to be interesting this season.