Satnam Singh Bhamara. Amritpal Singh. Pratima Singh. Geetu Anna Jose.
These are some of India’s most prominent basketball players who have made a mark internationally – be it as a member of the NBA or as a part of the national basketball team.
While we continue to be a cricket-obsessed country, we must remember sports-perpsons like Satnam Singh, who fought all odds to become the first Indian to be drafted in the NBA! That is some serious prestige. Like Bhamara and the others, there are countless children who would someday love to slam-dunk professionally. And there is one such organisation bringing kids closer to achieving these dreams. Chennai’s HLC International School has a basketball league called Hoops of Fire, which was initiated in 2015 with the goal of nurturing talent from all sections of society.
Through this league, we aim to nurture young talent from all economic strata, regardless of their backgrounds. Our work symbolises the importance of data-driven selection and of international standards of fitness and training techniques, along with developing every individual player’s sense of identity and purpose in playing the game of basketball. The first edition saw 10 schools participating, but now the league has grown to 400 young, fit, and talented basketballers from over 35 schools to showcase the power of teamwork and collaboration.
They have rightly recognised the flaw keeping young sportsmen from flourishing in the field of basketball in India. Bias is one of the main reasons for our country’s inability to succeed in the field of international sport. We believe that two main things are necessary to change this narrative in basketball – perseverance and commitment.
Keeping our initiative strong requires not just money, but also enough encouragement and trust in our abilities to change the paradigm. Hoops of Fire is helping in changing the selection processes that are currently biased and based on influence or money over merit. A lot of true talent gets overlooked simply because of unfair processes in selection. Children will be taught to play with integrity and sportsmanship and deal with losses as much as they are encouraged to be successful. In just 4 years, we’ve trained players to play at the national level. And within four years, the school has made the journey from inter-school matches to participation at the national level.
Help HLC International under its Hoops of Fire initiative make a difference in helping hidden talent soar today!