Mumbai: National Basketball Academy (NBA) legend Jason Williams was the most American thing yet on display before the pre-season matches kick-off in Mumbai on Friday.
Talking straight to the point without mincing words, the former Sacramento Kings point guard said that the physic comes secondary, what matters more is the effort you put in the practice if one is taking basketball seriously.
“It’s gotta be the work ethic. It’s not easy (playing basketball) or everybody would do it. Especially when you don’t have the height, you don’t have the size or the athletic ability.
But that’s all bullc*ap to me. If you got it in the heart and the will to put in the work in it, then the sky is the limit,” Williams said after inaugurating the ‘floating basketball court’ set-up in the country off the Bandra-Worli sea link.
Basketball courts are visible in many schools across India but the country lacks the quality infrastructure necessary to take the sport to the next level.
Williams was quick to notice the difference in his still short stay, “I mean when you look, you don’t have as many courts as in America. In America, there is a court in every corner so the kids are able to play all the time. They have lights on the court so they can play at night.”
“It’s been two days in India and I hadn’t seen a court and today is the first time I’m seeing the court in India. I saw one driving in here too. So these are the only two courts I have seen.
Maybe the NBA can get something going and we build some more courts. I think they have built one or two already so maybe that will help the things get started.”
India hasn’t been able to make a mark on the basketball scene globally. Even India’s promising women’s team was recently relegated from Division A after losing to the Philippines in the 7th-place playoff of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup basketball tournament last month.
When asked what is the reason he believes India is lacking behind in the sport, the star player said that the passion for the sport has to be there.
“I had no clue (about the level of basketball in India) coming here. I have only been to a couple other countries and China is the most recent one. And they are absolutely crazy about basketball, crazier than the Americans. I don’t get the sense here even though I haven’t been here long enough.
“The love of it (the sport) has to be there. You guys got a couple of other sports that you probably love more than basketball but like I said earlier, hopefully, these two games NBA is bringing here will take the game in the right direction.”
When asked how he plans on sharing his wisdom about the sport to Indian kids, Williams, who is also known as ‘White Chocolate’ due to his flashy style of play, said the organisers will help him decide over it, “I am going to do whatever they are going to tell me to do. I am as easy as Sunday morning.”
Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings will play two pre-season games at the DOME, NSCI, SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Friday and Saturday.