The pre-season games between Sacramento Kings and Indian Pacers to be held in Mumbai of the widely followed NBA will give a massive boost to the sport in the country, feels former All-star Rashard Lewis.
“The pre-season games will have a major impact,” said Lewis, who was here for an NBA promotional event.
“Fans will get the chance to see world-class action, and they will also be able to meet the players during community events. Watching the NBA on television is one thing, but seeing everything in person is an altogether different experience,” he added.
The matches will take place in October this year.
Lewis has fond memories of his title-winning campaign with the Miami Heat in 2013. “Playing with that Miami team was a fun experience. In Lebron James, we had the best player in the world. Dwyane Wade had already won a championship with Miami (2005-06). At the start of my career, in Seattle Supersonics, I had played with Ray Allen. Ray and I shared a good relationship,” Lewis said.
The 39-year-old considers legend Kobe Bryant as the most difficult player to play against. “Kobe was hands down, the toughest player to guard. He could shoot, drive and make free-throws. He would also regularly sink impossible shots. There was nothing you could do to stop him,” he said.
He also had words of praise for his former team-mate LeBron James, who is setting new standards with Los Angeles Lakers now.
“Everyone knows that he is extremely talented on the court, but he is even better off-the-court. LeBron is a people’s person. During our time together at Miami, LeBron would get so many gifts through all his endorsements. Headphones from ‘Beats by Dr Dre’, mobile phones, Nike shoes – everything was kept in our locker room. LeBron insisted on giving everything to his team-mates. It was like being part of a family,” Lewis remembered.