Interview of Shiba Maggon: India's Basketball All Rounder
Having the honour of playing 20 Senior Nationals for different States and Professional teams with Seven Golds and Seven Silver medals, Shiba Maggon has been the face of Basketball India since. Not only does she have her playing career and her agility on the court to boost off, she is also one of the first of two FIBA Certified women referee and now coaches India Women’s Junior team.
Making a foray into team India in 1993, problems within the federation eluded her from participation till 1997 and performed consistently for India till 2010, when she decided to hang up her boots. She was adjudged Upcoming player, most valuable player and best player at various championships where she has participated. She was adjudged the top 3 Asian Players in Senior ABC championship in 2001. Babua Biswas spoke to the only women in the history of Basketball to represent India as a Player and as a Coach where she spoke about her early lives, career and much more…
Babua Biswas (BB): First and foremost, hats off to you for such a wonderful achievement in such a short span of time that too in a sport which is not followed in India? How did you do it?
Shiba Maggon: Thanks for the compliments Dear..I just followed my heart and feel at peace when I am in the 28 meter court.
BB: Secondly, your taking up Basketball as a profession has a very emotional background attached to it. Would you please share it once again so that people get inspiration from it?
Shiba Maggon: Well I have a sports background. My dad was cricketer and he always wanted his kids to be physically fit and take part in sports. Me being the most naughty kid since childhood was the least interested girl to get out of house and take part. But my sister loved basketball the moment she saw it. And I was forced to accompany her to play. I clearly remember that once in the stadium I use to run away to other courts like volleyball and athletics just to avoid playing basketball. Since my sister was tall 6 feet and little hard work took her to glory sooner than we thought she was picked up for National team camps and also she lead the netball national team at Delhi for International games. Year 1991 she came back home from basketball national camp for a break and I was handpicked by SAI scheme at Chandigarh. On 18 March I was informed by the authorities that my cousins came to take me home as my mom is missing me. I was the happiest but my happiness was lost when I reached home to find that my sister- the only best friend of my life left us. That day the rebellion kid inside me died and I made it a point that I will never allow my parents to miss my sister in anyway and started doing and liking what my sister did. And on 7 October when I picked up Basketball again this time I picked up to fulfill my sister’s dream.
BB: You seem to be good at Multi-Tasking. You studied English Literature; you are a player, an official, a coach and in the mean time you studied Diploma in Olympism and Humanism? What else have you done that we are not aware off? How did you manage your time?
Shiba Maggon: I pick up on everything that seems challenging for me. I am also doing CCNA a course about computer that deals with routers and servers. I have done Athletic Trainer course from South Western Oklahoma University USA, unfortunately due to my mom health I had to come early so did not stay back to complete the course and attain the degree. Managing time is easy always as I cut short on other activities like I don’t watch TV except for news and when I am at home, stay most of the time in my room with my work.
BB: You would have been in different world with your achievements, had you been born in a country where Basketball has a mass following. Have you ever thought of that?Shiba Maggon: Yes I think of that often and with that ambition I went to US in the year 1998 as WNBA was my dream but I always kept my family as my preference when I had to choose something between my career and my family because I promised my sister when she passed away that I will take care of family the way she always wanted to.
But the amount of hard work I have done on my own for the game we all love I will have been somewhere else if I was in the world of mass following basketball. I still remember when I use to practice alone in sun with my shadow my mess workers use to call me crazy and boxers use to think she is maniac when I use to dribble in front of mirrors at Patiala. And my parents got heartache so many times when I was missing in the middle of night from home just to be alone with ball on basketball court.
BB: Who has been your role model as a player?
Shiba Maggon: I have many role models but the first one is Mr Ajmer singh, saw him on TV in the year 1989 and I liked his attitude with his teammates and opponents, the first thing that struck me was his humbleness. Prassanna Jaishankar, Aparna Ghosh, Rajesh Srivastava, Gautham, Sunny, Shahid Qureshi, are some of the other players who have been my inspiration.
BB; What made you hanged up your boots at this point? Was it the age factor?
Shiba Maggon: Age has never been factor for me and we have some very good examples for that-Sachin Tendulkar and Leander Paes. As I mentioned earlier I do things which I feel challenges my potential and as a player I have achieved enough and I guess there is nothing left that challenges my capability. So I thought why not hang up my shoes and bring out innumerous Shiba’s by coaching the young talent. And this is really challenging. As a player I knew what I want from myself but as a Coach I will have to make understand the players what I want from them as Shiba. I dreamt of something that is damn difficult but not impossible, as for me the word ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ itself says ‘I M Possible’.
BB: How does it feel to be one of the first of two certified FIBA female referees?
Shiba Maggon: It feels great to be one of the first referees but somewhere inside I feel little disheartened I have not been able to do justice to this role till now due to so many responsibilities but I am working on it as I have started officiating games for boys in Delhi and will be making mark at youth and sub junior nationals.
BB: So you officiate matches also?
Shiba Maggon: I do officiate games being a certified referee but I cannot officiate games in any championship where I am also playing the role of Coach.
BB: What inspire you to take up coaching when you were already a certified referee?
Shiba Maggon: Coaching was always in my blood. Even in my playing days, I use to find solutions to my own problems and once I was certified as a referee it also increased my knowledge about most of the rules which we as a coaches sometimes don’t understand. So I guess being a referee only helps me to be a better Coach.
BB: Isn’t coaching a junior team more challenging for a coach as he/she has to shoulder the responsibility of supplying quality players for the senior team? How do plan to meet this challenge as you are the National Junior Girls Coach?
Shiba Maggon: Coaching any age group is challenging. But yes as a Junior Coach everyone has an important responsibility of teaching the right basics to the players to carry with them when they enter senior batch. And that’s why I took up the junior batch to nurture and teach the right skills at the right age. Everything needs planning and what I do is research and make a schedule to be followed and in ten days I evaluate and see what are my results and match it with what I had presumed. If there is less growth then I bring changes in my work out. Coaching is constantly teaching and learning and if we keep doing our homework we can see the changes and supply quality players always.
BB: Which all international tournaments will the India Junior Girls participate this year?
Shiba Maggon: This year Junior Women team has no International tournaments but we do have camps to prepare for the championship in 2012.
BB: Talking about Basketball in India, It still has a long way to go in terms of gaining popularity. What is being done to improve it?
Shiba Maggon: There are lots of changes that I have been witnessing for the past one year. The hard work undertaken by Mr. Harish Sharma have seen NBA coming to India and organizing grass root level leagues for the players and involving community with them. In one year NBA has roped in more than 6000 players involved with the game. Another major achievement that Basketball fraternity has seen is IMG-Reliance joining hands with BFI, again because of Mr. Harish Sharma efforts. Eight of our young talented players were handpicked by IMG academy and are given best of facilities and training in the US. With IMG-Reliance joining hands with BFI, players are now getting more and better facilities. This year itself we saw the gradation of players which is a good step towards the growth of game. Getting rewards in shape of money in all the age groups is motivating the players and we see lot of people taking interest in the game. Earlier there were only few companies offering jobs and this was a main reason why no one uses to take the game professionally. But now with the introducing of gradation system, the game is getting immense popularity. And for the past one year I have seen Media taking interest in game and soon we will see movie on basketball game with our own players showing their acting skills.
BB: Had you been in the helm of the BFI, what changes would you like to bring or what new thing would you like to do?
Shiba Maggon: Had I been at the helm of BF, I would not have changed anything as BFI is like my own family. One thing that I admire about Mr Harish Sharma is that he has always welcomed our ideas and helped us to bring the changes we want to see.
BB: You have played multiple roles in your career and are still carrying on. Which role do/did you enjoy the most?
Shiba Maggon: I don’t know which role is closes to my heart because every role has its own importance. As a player I enjoyed the learning process and learnt the team work. As a coach I enjoy teaching and it helps me to understand my capability and as a referee I am learning to focus and be neutral.
BB: Are you aware of anyone who represented his/her country as a player, as a coach and as an official? How does it feel, you being one of them?
Shiba Maggon: No I tried to goggle it but I did not find anyone. And it feels great to be one and I owe this to Basketball Federation of India.
BB: What message would you like to leave for the aspiring players?
Shiba Maggon: I have seen lot of players telling me that they don’t have good coaches and they are not lucky like me. I was not lucky, my coach was busy chatting with another coach when I was working hard on court alone so its within us what we want from ourselves. Believe in your strength and your dreams. And remember there are no short roads to success. To be on top you have to work hard that’s the only key to success.
BB: Are you satisfied with your achievements so far?
Shiba Maggon: I was happy when I was the little kid at home and now even after achieving so much, I still feel the same. I pick up on what comes my way and at the same time I love to remain humble as I was when I did not step out of my house as for me that matters and keeps me satisfied.
BB: Any unfulfilled desire?
Shiba Maggon: Yes there are many but the most eager one is buying house for my mother.
BB: Suggest some Basketball Academy in India where aspiring youths can enroll themselves to master the art of the game.
Shiba Maggon: We have few in India at present and we are working on some more. But couple of academy or centers I like in India are Mr Gaur and Mr Rajesh Patel center at Bhillai, Mr Hooda center at Delhi. And we have academy at Ludhiana which has history of supplying players like Jagdeep Bains and Yadwinder and Talwinder.
BB: What is your future plan?
Shiba Maggon: Right now my future plan is to supply as many Shiba’s as I can to the future of Indian basketball.
BB: Finally when are you planning to settle down?
Shiba Maggon: I guess I will hear my wedding bells this year.