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Ray Allen's advice to Indian basketball players
Ray Allen is currently on an NBA promotional tour in India. Ekalavyas had the opportunity to ask him some long-cherished questions, including those by fans!
So without further ado, here's the Q&A:
Would you like to see ‘He Got Game’ remade as an Indian/Bollywood movie?
Ray: I would like to see that. That would be fun to watch. I think I could play a part, definitely. But I think one of the great things about He Got Game is that it’s a human story…when you think about a young man raising his sister and dealing with everything with his dad, his family and trying to create a life for himself…like you show me what city, what neighbourhood doesn’t have that story, all over the world. So definitely I’m sure there are communities, neighbourhoods, families that deal with that type of upheaval in their home life and then you get to tell their story…so definitely feel it can be done.
How was your IPL viewing experience? How does the ambience at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai compare with the TD Garden, Boston?
Ray: There are some similarities. I tell everybody that – who are basketball fans – all around America. I played for two teams before I played for Celtics, and there’s not an experience you know for me like it was playing in that building. You know on a nightly basis. So anybody that’s a basketball fan I always urge them go watch a game in Boston. I remember we’re playing the Raptors one night and Tracy Mcgrady we were talking [at] halfcourt he looked at me and he said “is it always like this?” – I said “yes, every night”. And that’s different..that’s so different because the people they, similar to what I saw at the cricket match…people are coming and you feel the energy, you feel the atmosphere…regardless of who the team plays, people are going to come out and they are going to celebrate and they are going to be excited and they are going to show you that they matter...they care about their team.
*Fan question by Ashutosh* In the 2008 NBA Finals, how tough was it to guard Kobe?
It was difficult because he took a lot of shots, and he took a lot of tough shots and it was my job to just keep make him continue to take tough shots. You gonna take tough shots? Then I’m happy with it. He’s going to make it, some of them, then fine. When he’s taking shots under duress or where he’s fatigued, then I did my job. You know some guys in the NBA and Kobe was one of them…just impossible to keep him from taking those shots and then from not…from him missing. So, it was a task for me but also I tried to like get him as tired as much as I could when he was guarding me as well.
*Fan question by Chandan* Take us through the game-winning three and what was running in your mind?
No I don’t think you think about it. You just go to what your body knows. You go to what you’ve been working on, what you practice. Sometimes you can watch a game in any sport and you see guys at the end of the game do things they don’t look like they know what they are doing. And for me, I never wanted that to be the case. So at the end of the game I was like you know exactly what I am going to do, well, stopping it is the task. And that was at that point it was like go to the place that you know and which you are comfortable in, and that was just years and years of work that was on display in that moment.
There are many talented basketball players in India – who don’t get the right coaching support or professional playing opportunities – because unlike in cricket, there is no 5x5 pro basketball league in India. How would you motivate them to stay passionate about the game?
Part of is…it’s an infrastructure issue…I think about the coaches I had when I was younger, when I was good, a coach would take me from one place to another, so I could be around better players and so I could be showcased…that’s something that may need to be done here to get the players here in India, get them to go play leagues in China because China has some good leagues, get ‘em outside the country to travel during their summer months where they’re not in school and play in other places and the minute somebody sees you play, 1) you’ll learn ‘oh I’m not that good’ or ‘I can compete [with] these other kids’.
There’s camps all over Europe…just get outside of your surroundings…[if] you can and then what happens is it brings more attention to your local area. So..and it’s hard to say…but now everything with social media you can connect in with everything, because I find camps for my kids to go to in different regions, parts of the country.
If kids could reach out to people around them and figure out how to delve into these different entities it could get them exposed to different places and different cultures and different camps, therefore then being able to…people see ‘oh there’s talent coming from India’ and then more coaching will descend down [on] this place.
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