New Delhi: Media has a big role to play in promoting basketball in India, believes Olympian and National Basketball Association (NBA) star Steve Smith.
The former Olympic gold medalist, who is in the city to launch NBA JAM - an interactive basketball clinic, said with the kids being exposed to the game by way of various media platforms the future augurs well for the sport.
"NBA along with Basketball Federation of India have taken lot initiatives to build the sport in the country but you need to give it some time. You will definitely see the results in another couple of years," said Smith.
"I believe media has an effective role to play in all this, particularly with lot of social networking sites coming in, the word spreads faster and you will see the game catching more youngsters," he added.
The Atlanta Hawks player, who earlier in the day had a session with India`s junior men`s basketball team at the Indira Gandhi stadium, said the kids were very enthusiastic and were keen to learn more about the game.
Smith also insisted on the value of a good coach and said with the likes of Kenny Natt taking over the realms of the Indian team, the game was heading in the right direction in the country.
The NBA star, who was a part of the gold medal winning US basketball team during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said it was always a pleasure to represent his country and stressed that India had a great advantage with the players spending a lot of time together.
"Most of your time you would spend playing for the club. But you would get an opportunity to play for your country once in four years and to me playing for my nation was always a pleasure.”
"Indian players don`t have to share their time between club and country which helps them to spend a lot of time together. There is much better understanding which adds to the cohesiveness of the team," he said.
Recalling the experience of playing alongside the likes of Shaquille O`Neal, the veteran cager said he was lucky to have played with the best in the business.
"It is a great feeling to play alongside some of the best players in the country," said Smith about his former gold medal winning teammate.