Three-time WNBA champion and double Olympic gold medallist, Swin Cash, is optimistic that the initiatives taken by NBA to promote basketball in India would bear fruit some time in the near future.
"Everybody is interested in looking at the final product and want to know when is the next NBA or the WNBA player going to come in (from India), and that is not the idea of this initiative. It is to get these become active and lead a healthier lifestyle.
"Using basketball is just a tool. As the years go on when we start developing the best players, it will be good for India," Cash said today at the Reliance Foundation Junior NBA programme.
Reliance Foundation and NBA India entered into a multi-year partnership in October 2013 to launch a school-based basketball programme.
The programme has seen over 100 schools and 60,000 youth take part since its launch in Mumbai.
"It is great to watch the energy in the children and the effort from the NBA and Reliance Foundation to get to the grassroots. The kids here are having a good time and that is what the sport is all about," she said.
Asked about the potential for the sport in India, Cash said, "When you have an investment for a pilot project like this, it helps. Basketball has been played since a long time, but that doesn't mean it cannot be introduced in India and the kids can't fall in love with it here."
Cash is confident that the children could raise their standards to match international level in future.
"I believe they can take it to an international level. This programme offers equal opportunity for boys and girls and will be effective."
Over the years NBA has brought many star players to India and Cash said, "As a professional athlete, I believe that with visibility comes responsibility and that means you need to give back.
"It is a free programme and we are here to inspire the kids and, hopefully, they will fall in love with basketball. It will extensively grow in the next two-three years," she added.
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