NBA Legends take training session for Sky Sports Living for Sport students

Wed 16th Jan '13

Detroit legend Bill Laimbeer hopes this month's NBA clash in London will help fuel a real passion for basketball in UK schools.

Laimbeer, who played centre for the Pistons from 1982-1993, oversaw two NBA Elite Clinic sessions for young people as part of the build-up to Detroit’s clash with the New York Knicks, on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7.30pm.

Pupils from Lampton School, participants in the Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative, took part in the sessions at Sky Studios where Laimbeer put the youngsters through a series of defensive and attacking drills – exercises he hopes will soon be replicated across the UK.

“Basketball is a global sport because it doesn’t cost any money to play – all you need are a pair of shoes and a ball,” he said.

“England seems like a perfect place for the game to thrive, so if we can expose more kids to it by getting the NBA over here to meet the players and teach them the right way to do it, then it should grow.

“There’s a culture that has to be cultivated. Here, kids all play football – as you call it – or cricket and rugby, because that’s what they know. It’s not like the United States where everybody grows up playing basketball. But as basketball grows and becomes more popular, athletes will start to migrate to it.

“There’s a lot of money in professional basketball, but more importantly than that, in the United States you can get scholarships and free education, if you’re good enough, which is a great thing.

“Anyone can play basketball – it’s great exercise – but what level of basketball you play to comes down to how well you were coached and your talent.

“Some kids aren’t fast; they can’t get up and down a football field as well as everybody else and they get washed out. In rugby, some aren’t as strong as others. But in basketball they might have jumping or shooting skills – an ability that doesn’t fit the normal culture of the sport here. They can find a home, get involved and be successful.

“The NBA is trying to grow a culture and a coaching environment that will be able to teach the kids how to play the game the right way.”

Find out more about Sky Sports Living for Sport masterclasses

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