Mumbai: The National Basketball Association (NBA) League is one of the most-watched leagues around the world and with basketball slowly making a steady progress, the country needs one player who can make it big in the league for youngsters to look up to.
Former NBA star Kevin Martin, who is currently on his maiden tour of India, feels that country has a lot of potential and that NBA is doing a great job in terms of popularizing the sport in the country.
“I was with junior NBA yesterday there is so much untapped potential in terms of basketball and NBA is doing a great job elevating India to place where people thought it would never go. I have seen places like China, Philippines and Africa just what NBA can do is getting a lot of hoops and giving kids something to look up to. I am excited to see how the game evolves in the country 10 years from now,” he said.
The 34-year-old shooting guard played for five clubs in his 12-year-long career. Talking about his journey he said, “My experience was pretty good, especially when I look back at my journey to get there, I came from a small town in Ohio, where one or two people get drafted in four years. It is something to be proud of. Once I came to NBA I knew I had to be an influence that every kid in our town is looking up to."
In spite of having enough potential, basketball in India still has a long way to go. Players like Satnam Singh who was drafted by Dallas Mavericks, played for their affiliated side Texas Legends in the NBA G-League and Amjyot Singh who was also drafted for G–League side Oklahoma City Blue have certainly raised hopes for budding players to make it big in the league. But the country needs one player who can sustain for a longer time.
Speaking about Satnam’s stint, he said, “If you have the talent they will find you like they found him. It’s beyond more than just getting drafted. Once you get there you work hard and hope odds change in your favour there are much more talented players that got cut before me."
It’s never talent sometimes it’s the opportunity and certain teams give opportunity because of their needs, and in India now that you have got someone who took the tough route to NBA there is hope for others to look up to someone,” Martin explained.
The Ohio-born player feels that with more kids picking up the game, the sport will grow with years to come.
“I think the time when there are more academies, more kids will come and you get to see more potential. I think there is going to be a next Yao Ming from India 5 years from now or 15 years from now. The game will change the landscape of the sport in the country.”
“The game will grow in the next 10 to 20 years and having NBA academy and Jr NBA’s the game will become popular. I am excited to see where the sport goes 20 years from now,” he signed off....