Q & A: Former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman and ex-Indian captain Divya Singh on Women's Basketball in India
The two basketball greats in their respective areas talked to Sportskeeda about the growth of women's basketball in India
With the help of the NBA India and it's grass-roots level activities all across the country, the growth of basketball in India has seen a huge spike. Most recently, from May 30th - June 2nd, the NBA in collaboration with FIBA and BFI held it's second annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Asia Camp at the NBA Academy India in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), marking the second time that the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program will be held in India.
Corey Brewer (Oklahoma City Thunder; U.S.), Caris LeVert (Brooklyn Nets; U.S.), Kelly Olynyk (Miami Heat; Canada; BWB Americas 2009), Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks; Canada), two-time WNBA Champion Ruth Riley, and former WNBA player Ebony Hoffman were designated coaches for the the top high school age campers from throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
During the camp, Sportskeeda's got to speak to Ebony Hoffman and later even Divya Singh, a ex-India captain.
Q. How important is it to achieve growth in this particular segment of Women's basketball in India?
Ebony Hoffman: I think it's very important. I think India is very important to the world. They hold the key. India can be whatever it wants to be. The ladies that we have seen play basketball here are extremely talented. The potential is out of this world and all they need to do is keep playing and keep working on their skills. It is hard at any job for a woman. Although, It is not an easy road to success, in that journey is a type of satisfaction. Because you have taken that journey, you haven't stopped, and you haven't let anyone else define your role.
So these girls have an opportunity to be whatever they want to be. They need not be a player necessarily, they can be a referee, they can be a coach, they can be in management, they can be in operations.
It happens all over the world, even in the USA, that Men get more support in certain aspects than women. We are trying to change that slowly. But how we change that is completely up to us and our preparation. That is exactly what we are trying to teach these ladies.
These girls can be whatever they want to be. All you need is a round ball.
Divya Singh: It is very important. The coaches are working very hard to do so. We are even planning on organizing another tournament.
Q. There were some good signs during the Khelo India programme in Basketball. How can we build on that?
Divya Singh: So I am a part of Khelo India. The Government of India is planning really big. They are looking at the 2024 and 2028 Olympics. We don't usually qualify for Olympics in Basketball maybe because we are not one of the top priority games for India. However, things are changing. We are even about to open an academy with all the facilities. We will even provide the necessary education to the kids in order to do better in this sport.
Q. What are the challenges in India for this game? Won't various cultural barriers restrict the growth of the sport?
Divya Singh: Our culture is totally different from what it is in the United States of America. However it is changing, parents are getting more aware and sending their children towards sports. Nevertheless, we need to change our attitude. The way we see girl child and boy child.
You see we have pre-defined roles. We always see that the girls are doing well in academics. However, the boys always get more emphasis in the family. We need to change that. If we change this culture, to begin with, everything else will change too. I feel a girl child should be given extremely good care and should be helped prepare mentally as well.
So I think when we change this type of culture, everything else will become more positive.
After giving such strong statements on the growth of this particular segment in India, the two ladies signed off.