Caris LeVert admits that he didn’t know what to expect in his first trip to India as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative. Within a short amount of time, he quickly learned about the country and Asia’s passion for basketball after running a few clinics.
“Not all of the campers speak great English so one of the guys on my team actually wrote a couple of questions on his phone and translated it to English. That was how we communicated a little bit,” LeVert said. “It was cool to see how hungry he was to get better – that he went to those measures to do that.”
The NBA and FIBA launched the 10th edition of Basketball without Borders Asia Camp on Wednesday morning at The NBA Academy India in the Delhi National Capital Region. Sixty-six top high-school age boys and girls from 16 countries and territories across Asia took the court and had the opportunity to learn from not only LeVert but fellow professional basketball players like Corey Brewer (Oklahoma City Thunder), Kelly Olynyk (Miami Heat), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks), two-time WNBA champion Ruth Riley and former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman. The program also featured Indian professional basketball players Satnam Singh and Amjyot Singh.
LeVert has been in the country’s capital, New Delhi, for the past three days along with Nets assistant coach Bret Breilmaier. The 23-year-old has been assisting in various clinics with the high school kids and was immediately impressed by not only their passion, but their skill as well.
“There’s definitely a lot of talent here,” LeVert said. “I feel like people in the [United] States will definitely know a few of these kids in the future.”
LeVert also praised the facilities at The NBA Academy India.
“It seems like the resources are pretty equal,” he said. “It seems like the stuff we have here, they have there as well. The gym here is really nice.”
Outside of basketball, LeVert has enjoyed his opportunity to take in Indian culture and visit a few sites. He has posted Instagram stories about his visit outside of Taj Mahal and other sites around New Delhi. LeVert was motivated by his first trip to Asia last summer as part of Jeremy Lin’s camp, so he jumped at the opportunity to see more of the continent when his agent offered it to him.
“I didn’t really know too much about the culture at all. I didn’t really know too much about the food. The climate. I feel like I’ve learned a lot in the past couple of days. The people are very nice, very welcoming…. It’s been an amazing time out here.”
Although LeVert is spending a brief period of time in Asia, he acknowledged the importance of NBA players making trips around the globe to grow the sport. Dirk Nowitzki and other international players in the league have pointed to similar trips as their inspiration in getting into professional basketball. LeVert has seen plenty of determined teenagers during the trip so far and he hopes to have a similar impact.
“You never know who’s watching you,” he said. “There’s a lot of people out there who have the same dreams that I did at their age.
“They are really talented. Like I said there’s a lot of kids who are looking up to what we do. For us, it inspires us to be great.”