29th August 2015: On a Sunday morning while half the city was still asleep, passionate basketballers gathered in the heart of the city to celebrate basketball. A beautiful sight to watch, but a rather unusual one for a common Delhiite to see: Couple of hundered basketballers dribbling around India Gate to tip off the National Sports Week.
IBPA i.e. Indian Basketball Players Association, took this initiative to celebrate basketball and create awareness of the sport and bring the Indian basketball family closer than they already are. Many significant members of the Indian basketball community took part in the event along with some big names such as Ajmer Singh, Shiba Maggon, Divya Singh and Mr Jayasankar Menon.
Shibha Maggon added, “IBPA is an effort to connect past, present and future together and work together for the betterment of the game. The NBA has a format where they keep their legends always connected to youngsters even after decades. Everyone knows who is Larry Bird, but in India, forget about players like Robinson, we don’t even know who was Khushi Ram is. Only when their introduction is given do players remember them. So IBPA is a platform to know what is Indian basketball. Dribblathon is to connect to community and spread awareness about our game. Involve parents and let them know what it takes or their kids to learn the game.” (sic)
The event also held host to the talents of Dribble Academy and Play Hard academy where kids showcased their incredible ball handling skills.
The young head coach of the Dribble Academy, Pradyut Voleti had a chance to speak to us and he mentioned “Dribblathon is a first of its kind platform that’s giving kids from all around the city an opportunity to come out and showcase their skills. But more importantly what really drew me to this event were the people involved. The IBPA members are selfless people, all working for the same cause that is the upliftment of the beautiful sport basketball. Most of those that I had a chance to interact with were willing to help in every way possible and I respect them for what they’re doing.”
The kids had a great time too, meeting our former Indian captain Divya Singh and stars Akanksha and Pratima Singh. Divya Singh, one of the main members of IBPA had this to say about the event, “It was a wonderful sight to see so many kids of different age groups coming out to celebrate basketball, dribbling around India Gate. It’s a highlight in the history of basketball. It was organized to create awareness of the sport that we all love. Watching these kids perform and bringing the basketball family together to celebrate National Sports Week has brought great joy to everyone.”