But, seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry was of the opinion that choosing such foreign coaches alone won’t work wonders. “If you are bringing someone from overseas, you got to rope in a knowledgeable coach who has good pedigree. You must pair him with an Indian coach who is well known in the circuit. But, it really doesn’t matter where you are from. It’s about how you convey the message to your kids,” said Horry, who engaged with players at the NBA Academy India.
His first visit to the country was back in 2012. Speaking on how the game has developed among the rookies in the past five years, he remarked, “The last time I came here, the kids were just laughing and enjoying what they were doing. The grassroot program is now teaching them how to play the game the right way. You can put these tutorials in TVs or smart phones, but it’s always good to put it on the face and see the level of fun people are having playing basketball.”
The popularity of football in the land has gone up a notch after the kick-off of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2014. Horry was confident that NBA will take measures to set up a private-based basketball league in the coming years. “The NBA is focused on growing the game. It is investing a lot in educating and creating awareness. In the years to come, I am sure NBA will have a league in place here to further popularise the game.”
The American is one of only two players to have won NBA Championships with three different teams. While he twice won titles with Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, he had his best stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, emerging victorious on three occasions. Asked about the incredible level of consistency he maintained during his playing days, the 48-year-old added, “‘I don’t make the team weaker, but better,’ is my favourite line. With me knowing how to play the sport, when to commit and how to fit in, I was allowed to help teams out.”