Ebony Hoffman, former Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player, is of the view that the forthcoming pre-season games featuring Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers in the city, will be a basketball bonanza for Indian fans.
“We are getting two great sides to these games. The NBA is here to stay, aiming to be the number one sport here,” Hoffman said. She was speaking on the sidelines of the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA clinic for girls, named ‘Her Time To Play’.
NBA in India: Hoop, set and match
The former Indian Fever and Los Angeles Sparks forward, who earned the Most Improved Player award in WNBA 2008, explained: “The Kings are a very young, athletic kids. You will see all types of dunks and moves. Facing them are the older Pacers, who have Miles Turner and a lot of other guys.
“You will see players live, which is a lot different from seeing (the NBA match) on television. I am excited that the whole of India is getting to see basketball of that quality.”
The American conducted a camp at the Central Railway Sports Association ground in Parel for 50 girls from the Jr NBA program. She has toured India before, as one of the coaches at the Basketball Without Borders (Asia) camp at the NBA India academy in Delhi.
The project was part of FIBA’s global basketball development initiative. “I watched the kids at the NBA academy in Delhi and the talent is there. This is my first visit to Mumbai to see what the kids have to offer. The girls here were receptive, had the energy and encouraged each other. We wanted to see them work as a team and embrace the peer right next to them," said Hoffman.
The 50 girls from different backgrounds, trained with the ex-WNBA player and her team of coaches in passing, shooting and court movements. Ebony, later, spoke to them about how basketball changed her life, on and off court experiences and related aspects. 'Her Time to Play' is an initiative aimed at pushing for change on behalf of women.
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