Watford captain Troy Deeney believes footballers and business leaders alike could learn a thing or two from the camaraderie shown in the NBA.
The striker took time after training, before Watford’s fixture with Burnley this weekend, to support youngsters who were working with some basketball legends to improve their game.
Deeney was not the only star on show for the fixture between two schools at The Regal in Lambeth, NBA champions Caron Butler, Bob Dandridge and Phil Chenier as well as four-time NBA All-Star Latrell Sprewell appeared to coach the two teams of youngsters.
But the 30-year-old’s involvement is far from done there, looking forward to attending the NBA London Game, where the New York Knicks face the Washington Wizards.
It will be the third time he has watched the annual fixture at the O2 Arena, with Premier League footballers normally seen filling the courtside seats.
Deeney said: “I’m going down on Thursday and just want to enjoy the show. I appreciate the talents, it’s easy to look at the players and think I can do that. It’s the same as footballers.
“I appreciate the talent and the hard work form the players to get to the top. The players are so quick and agile.
“The best part for me when you watch is seeing the camaraderie. Every time a basket goes in there all involved.
“The team togetherness is a part of it I like. In any good sport or business, it’s about building a team.”
As part of the NBA London game, Alcester Grammar and Queensbridge School played a match with each school representing one of the teams taking part in the headline game.
The game was staged as part of the activities relating to the NBA London Game 2019 between the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks, providing another fantastic opportunity for Jr. NBA participants to enjoy incredible experiences through basketball.
Jr. NBA Basketball England Leagues are designed to leverage the excitement of the NBA to inspire participation, and the programme aims to promote the shared NBA and Basketball England values of teamwork, leadership, fitness and healthy living through league games, Jr. NBA youth clinics, and league Finals events.
In 2018, Basketball England expanded their Jr. NBA offering significantly, moving from five to 13 leagues across the country to help bring the programme to more than 4,500 children aged 11 and 12.
Deeney said the work the NBA has done in the UK is to be admired and their work could see others follow in the footsteps of basketball stars such as Brixton-raised Luol Deng or Brent-born OG Anunoby.
“It would be very easy for the NBA to come and do their show then pack up and go but what they are doing here is a big part of it,” he said.
“There have been English players in the NBA in the past and you never know we could be seeing more here.
“More importantly it’s something completely different for the kids and gives them a chance to expand their minds.
“The main thing for me is seeing the kids grow, the kids in the community we are in here at the moment aren’t exactly flush with opportunities so to see them here and with some legends of the NBA might actually make them think ‘one day that could be me’.”
To find out more about Basketball England the Jr. NBA programme, please go to www.Basketballengland.co.uk/Jrnba