LeBron using sport to help USA, says Rashard Lewis

Rashard Lewis, 39, member of the NBA title-winning Miami Heat team in 2013, and now passionate about 3x3 basketball, is in India for the first time.

File picture of Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (right) and Orlando Magic's forward Rashard Lewis.   -  Reuters

Rashard Lewis, 39, member of the NBA title-winning Miami Heat team in 2013, and now passionate about 3x3 basketball, is in India for the first time.

Mumbai and Bengaluru are the stopover cities for the lithe power forward. “Professional players need to be athletes first,” said the 6’10 American, adding that excelling in the BIG3 Basketball League (he plays for 3-Headed Monster and was named MVP in 2017) and giving time for family are priorities.

LeBron James was his opponent and later team-mate. The Los Angeles Lakers star was named as one of two captains for next month’s NBA All-Star tie.

Learning a lot

Talking about experiences against and with the Lakers legend, Lewis said: “I played against him in the play-offs and he averaged 50 points. Playing with him at Miami Heat, I learnt a lot.

“He can probably be MVP every year, average 40 to 50 points if he plays to win. When the play-offs start, he goes to another level. He is not a stats stuffer (follower), but cares about winning.” Basketball’s current great is recovering from a groin strain and is active.

Building on his NBA presence for over 16 years (LeBron was drafted into Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003), one of the sport’s famous names is using popularity with fans to support community work.

Fund-raising

“LeBron does different things with the boys’ and girls’ club, does fund-raising for different communities. He is trying to tell us that we need to support the next generation of kids, cannot let them go the way they are going on right now.”

A sensational performer in the 3x3 version, Lewis elaborated: “For an athlete like LeBron, basketball is his first goal. As the best player in the league and as a global icon, with the platform that he has, he steps up and says what he thinks is wrong in the country.

“I don’t think he is trying to be in office, be a president or be in the Senate. Being in professional sport, your career keeps you busy. There is no time to learn about politics, where if you say the wrong thing, it can hurt you. I feel he is using the platform of sport to help USA.”

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