Visiting American basketball legend Bruce Bowen says basketball has the potential to be counted among popular sports in India like cricket or football.
“This is a situation where you give children another option. I know cricket is number one here, then football, so it is not to elevate basketball to the number one spot but let’s give them another option,” the former NBA star told PTI.
The 6 feet 7 inches basketball giant who is a three time NBA (America’s professional basketball league) champion for the San Antonio Spurs was on his first visit to India recently.
Being aware of the sports trend of the country, the 43 year-old said he has kept an open mind with no expectations for his tour.
“This is my first time in India, so I’m new to the process. I think sometimes when you have expectations, it never amounts to what you expect, when you keep a free mind, you accept everything and you are fine,” he said on the sidelines of a basketball event hosted by NBA India and Sony Six.
The popular American sport basketball may not enjoy mass popularity in India but Bowen believes the need is to make people aware of the opportunity basketball can provide.
“First let these folks know, they have opportunity here, specially the kids, getting them involved, with the enthusiasm they have, it’s possible. It started the same way for me. It is not about… Oh! We don’t have it right now, if there are kids involved and you start it the right way, you can affect their lives,” he said.
VJ and actor Rannvijay Singh who is an avid basketball fan and a player himself during his college days has also plunged into the efforts of promoting basketball in India.
“I’ve played for Rajasthan, I’ve played for Delhi, Delhi University, went for the U-19 camp, all of that. I wanted to be part of NBA, I wanted to play for them, I wish at that time, in 2000-2003 when I was in college, when I wanted to be a pro basketball player, NBA India was there that time but they weren’t.”