Jason Williams: ‘NBA can find a Yao Ming from India’

“I think NBA knows what they are doing. It’s the best organisation simply because they spread love. They understand the ‘help me, help you’ type of a mentality. The more love they can spread here, they can find a Yao Ming from India,” Jason Williams said.

Jason Williams is in India for the first time to be part of an NBA pre-season fixture between Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings.   -  Special Arrangement

Sacramento Kings legend Jason Williams has travelled the world. But being part of an NBA fixture in India was never in the plans.

The 43-year-old former cager is in India for the first time to be part of an NBA pre-season fixture between Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings.

When the two teams meet at the NSCI Dome here over the weekend for NBA India Games, it will also be a dream come true moment for the basketball fans of the country. After all, this is for the first time two top teams will take the court, in India!

READ | NBA in India: Hoop, set and match

And like the fans, even Williams is excited.

“This is very important. I think NBA knows what they are doing. It’s the best organisation simply because they spread love. They understand the ‘help me, help you’ type of a mentality. The more love they can spread here, they can find a Yao Ming from India,” Williams told Sportstar during a chat on Wednesday.

Even he would have liked to be part of such a game in India, but he is happy to be here in a different capacity.

“The fans will look forward to some of the best basketball they have seen, if not the best. You watch on TV or videos, but you don’t realise how fast these guys are. How athletic they are and how they can shoot — it’s something the fans will see.”

While he believes that the NBA is in safe hands, Williams agrees that the game has changed immensely over the years. “The players in NBA can very much do what they want to do — they are so good. They are focused on their team winning. The game has changed certainly,” he said.

“There are hardly any post ups in the game. Like earlier when Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) played or Chris Webber, Hakeem Olajuwon played, those guys used to post up all the time. Now if you cannot shoot three pointers, it is almost as if you don’t know the game,” he said.

While he is happy to see the game coming to India, Williams makes it clear that talent-wise, there’s still a huge gap between cagers from the US and the rest of the world. “Even with USA struggling at the World Cup, I still feel the gap, talent-wise, is so far between US and other countries. I wasn’t as talented, even some guys in the NBA are not as talented, but their work ethics, desire and hard work (is exceptional),” Williams says.

Over the years, NBA has developed a strong support base in India and after a long wait, the fans will have a chance to watch the stars live in action!