The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that NBA Champion Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors will visit India to support the continued growth of basketball in the country and coach the country’s top prospects at The NBA Academy India.
Durant, the 2017 Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, will travel to New Delhi on July 27 to donate two new basketball courts to the Ramjas School as part of the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation’s BUILD IT AND THEY WILL BALL Courts Renovation Initiative. Durant will then visit The NBA Academy India in Noida, becoming the first active NBA player to visit the academy. Durant will coach the prospects through a series of shooting, passing, dribbling and defensive drills. Later in the afternoon at the academy, Durant will lead a large-scale basketball clinic for 5,000 youth from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program – 1,000 of the athletes will be onsite while the other 4,000 boys and girls will join virtually from Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata via a satellite link.
“I’m excited to travel to India to help promote the game of basketball and meet the prospects at The NBA Academy India,” said Durant. “I’ve wanted to visit India for a long time, and I can’t wait to experience the country’s unique culture and share my knowledge with the kids there.”
“We are thrilled to host 2017 Finals MVP Kevin Durant in India,” said NBA India Managing Director Yannick Colaco. “Kevin is coming off an historic season with the Golden State Warriors. Having one of the very best players in our league interact with the basketball playing youth of India will serve as great inspiration to the next generation of players here, especially the high-performing prospects at The NBA Academy India.”
Durant, a 6’9” forward from the University of Texas, was selected second overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA Draft. An eight-time NBA All-Star and the 2014 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, Durant averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals per game during the 2016-17 NBA season while leading the Golden State Warriors to the franchise’s fifth NBA Championship.
The NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training center at Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex for the top male and female prospects from throughout India, officially opened in May. The NBA Academy India employs a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills. As part of the program, the students compete against top competition throughout the year and have an opportunity to be selected for travel teams that play in international tournaments and exhibition games.
The NBA Academy India builds on the NBA’s existing basketball and youth development initiatives in India. The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has reached more than 6 million youth and trained more than 5,000 physical education instructors nationwide since its launch in 2013. On April 7, the NBA launched NBA Basketball School, a network of tuition-based basketball development programs around the world open to international male and female players ages 6-18. The first NBA Basketball School launched in Mumbai, India as part of a multiyear agreement with India On Track (IOT), one of India’s leading sports management, marketing and development companies. The second NBA Basketball School launched in New Delhi on June 30.