New Delhi, Feb 2 : NBA champion Rashard Lewis thinks popularising 3x3 basketball in India will boost the sport in the country.
He says it will not only help players improve but will also teach them the nuances of the game in a better way.
"Yes, I think 3X3 basketball can not only produce more athletes but help you learn the game a lot faster," Lewis told IANS in an email interview when asked if the launch of 3x3 Basketball League (3BL) will help the country produce more athletes who are capable to play in National Basketball Association (NBA).
"There are a couple of people in the court when you play 5X5, but when you play 3X3, you have to play decent, you have to play with the ball in your hand and you have to be able to shoot the ball because then there aren't many people on the court, so you are pushed to being one of the best players," added the champion, who was in Mumbai last week to launch NBA fanwear kids merchandise at Shoppers Stop.
He thinks popularising 3x3 basketball, a game played three-a-side on one hoop and which will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo in 2020, can elevate the sport in India.
"I think it can elevate basketball in India tremendously because in 3X3 you have to learn fast how to play the game," the two-time NBA All-Star pointed out.
Lewis went into the NBA straight after completing his schooling.
He rose to prominence in the NBA as a scorer with the Seattle SuperSonics and was later as a member of the Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards and Miami Heat sides.
His achievements include two NBA All-Star selections and winning NBA Championship with the Miami Heat in 2013.
He left NBA in 2014, but came back to play in the BIG3, a professional 3-on-3 league, in 2017.
"I have had a successful career making it through NBA All Star games, playing with the Seattle SuperSonics, Orlando Magic as well as the Miami Heat.
I won the NBA championship with the Miami Heat towards the end of my career. It's just something that's not easy to do. A lot of players retire and don't even get to the final level of winning the championship.
"So, I'm excited about finishing the career winning the championship."
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)