NBA Legends put teens through their paces

NBA Legends put teens through their paces

The NBA Legends Camp which has been held at Dandenong Stadium since Monday moves into its final day of action on Thursday, with retired NBA stars Horace Grant, Luc Longley and Ron Harper having put some of the brightest young basketball stars in the Asia Pacific region through their paces.

Each day of the camp, in the mornings and the afternoons, the players have performed high intensity drills and basketball challenges, with the Legends helping them through the every step, as the kids look to similar lofty heights that their heroes have already achieved. 

Also at the camp are NBA coaching Legends Alex English (NBA Hall of Famer), Jay Triano, Melvin Hunt and Lloyd Pierce who have worked with the players all week, but will also work with the coaches as they play a series of games on Thursday.

Ten of the best mid-teenage players, each from Australia, New Zealand, Korea and China have congregated in Australia for the camp, and it’s been an extremely rewarding experience for all involved, including the Legends themselves.

“It’s a dream job of mine to work with kids, not just in the States but around the world,” said Horace Grant. “To come here knowing the passion that these kids have about basketball makes it more exciting to be here and teach the kids skills, and their determination to play the game of basketball is very exciting for me personally,” he said.

“It’s about helping the kids learn something about basketball, but the majority is about how to be a good person, it’s about character and about never letting anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goal, and believe me it’s been just an outstanding performance from the youth all around the globe,” he said.

Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers star Ron Harper agrees.

“Experience-wise, it’s been a fun journey,” he said.

“I always tell folks, the game of basketball is a round game, it’s not a flat game and it’s played all around, and if you enjoy playing it, you can play it for as long as you need to. The NBA has done a fantastic job of getting all the guys involved and we’re just taking it for a ride and we’re just enjoying it,” said Harper.  

In addition to the young athletes being pushed and tested this week, some of the local coaches have also been offered the chance to learn from some of the coaching Legends, with matches scheduled for the final day, giving the visiting coaches the opportunity to observe and provide feedback to some of our local mentors.

And as coaching Legend Jay Triano said, the learning often goes both ways.

“As a coach, you come here and you learn things because I don’t think you ever stop learning as a coach. Coaches learn from other coaches and you pick up something all the time,” said Triano.

“We were in the Basketball Without Borders program, and you learn about Lithuanian ball-movement, and I am very familiar with the coaches that coach in the pro-League here and who coach the national team here and Australia has been at the major events on a consistent basis as an international side and I think any time you’re a coach, you’re always looking for an advantage and that is one of the reasons I like to do this stuff,” he said.

 “The NBA has become global. That’s part of the reason why we’re here. We’re promoting the NBA and we’re promoting the game of basketball,” he said.