De’Aaron Pens Daily Diary from India
As the Kings took off to Mumbai, India to make history by taking part in the first ever NBA India Games, Fox shared his thoughts and experiences exclusively with The Undefeated.
See what the Sactown speedster has been up to since the team touched down in India below:
Sept. 30 – ‘Through a long trip like this, it can only help us grow:”
The night before the team took off for Mumbai on Drake’s private plane, “Air Drake,” which he graciously lent the team, Fox shared his emotions going into one of his first International trips. “I am excited to see a different culture,” he said.
“I hope everyone can just enjoy being around each other on this trip. Learn new things together. We’re going out there to play basketball games and discover who we are as a team."
Oct. 2 – “Flying Drake”
The team was in the air for almost the entirety of the first of the month. But, flying on Air Drake is much different than flying coach, as one can imagine.
“Flying on Drake’s plane, man, it was dope. It was 20 hours, but…even when we were staying up I didn’t feel like I was tired or like struggling to stay up because it felt like you was sitting in your living room.”
After arriving to the country, the Kings paid a visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. De’Aaron mentioned that seeing the famous Marble Mausoleum was one of the things her was most looking forward to about the trip.
“I think being [at the Taj Mahal] in person, it’s simply amazing. I know it means the world to Vivek [Ranadive]. For him to bring his organization here, I know he’s definitely having a blast.”
Oct. 3 – “Hoops & Hospitality”
After a busy few days, the guys took a much needed day of rest ahead of their first game on Friday morning. Aside from relaxing and playing foosball with one another at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai, they also enjoyed some additional sightseeing as a group.
“You know how we talk about Southern hospitality? It’s different over here. The hospitality that they show is simply amazing, and people from the streets to the hotel — I mean everybody — everybody’s going to say hello.”
Oct. 4 – “Making Basketball History”
On Friday morning, it was finally time for India’s first ever NBA match-up to take place. Though the squad fell one point short of a victory in an exhilarating game against the Pacers, Fox shared, “The atmosphere was great…I think both teams had a hell of a performance.”
Despite the loss, the guys are still eager to celebrate their historic game at a Bollywood-themed party thrown by Kings Chairman and Governor Vivek Ranadive. Above all else, No. 5. seems to be most excited to rock his new traditional Indian party attire.
“The pants fit crazy good, so I might buy more of them,” he said. Fox admitted that jet lag caused him to sleep through the NBA Welcome party on Thursday night, but he has no plans to miss this party. “I can’t miss the thing tonight, because I want to wear the suit.”
October 5 - ‘MVP’ Chants in India
The following day, the team geared up to play their second and final NBA India game against the Pacers. Indiana went home with the win, but De’Aaron used the loss as a learning opportunity.
“We gave up way too many uncontested layups, way too many uncontested 3’s, so that’s what we pulled away from these first two games,” he reflected.
On the subject of takeaways, the National Sports Club of India’s crowd’s love for Swipa was made especially apparent during this particular game. Fox remarked, “I heard fans chanting, ‘MVP,’ MVP,’ when I was shooting free throws. I appreciate the chants, but I got a lot of work to do to get there.”
And the love was mutual, according to De’Aaron. Fox said goodbye to Mumbai with a special message to those same fans, reminding us all that experiences like these are bigger than basketball.
“Thank you,” he gushed. “I just hope that they enjoyed this and we left them with a great first impression. For those of you that probably never touched a basketball before, especially for the kids, I hope we were able to make it fun enough so that they’d want to play it themselves.”
To read the full diary entries on The Undefeated: Click here.