World-famous NBA teams train at CitySport and give advice to local basketball coaches
The Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets prepared for NBA Global Games London 2017 at CitySport
City, University of London has played host to two world-famous basketball teams. The Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers visited the UK for NBA Global Games London at The O2 arena on Thursday 12th January. The two teams spent the week leading up to the high-profile game at CitySport, putting in practice time in the basketball hall.
The match marked the National Basketball Association’s seventh regular-season game in London. Leading the Indiana Pacers was three-time All-Star and one of basketball’s biggest stars, Paul George. It was the first time the Indiana side have played a regular-season game outside of North America.
During the week, Indiana Pacers guard, Glenn Robinson offered his advice to student basketball players at City:
I went to the University of Michigan, back in the States. I worked really hard to get my studies done so I could get back in the gym, play basketball at night and work hard at my craft. Try to perfect it – it’s time-consuming, but it will pay off.
Glenn Robinson, Indiana Pacers guard
Following the training session the team went sightseeing around London, where Glenn had an unusual highlight: “My favourite part of London so far is probably the taxis! It sounds funny, but I’ve never seen a taxi like that in real life, I’ve only seen pictures of them. I was surprised we could actually fit in the back – there was enough legroom.”
Glenn said the team was focussed on preparing mentally for the match, making time to practice, eat well and get plenty of sleep. “London has some of the best fans in the world,” he said. “We’re looking forward to playing to a packed crowd.”
Denver Nuggets forward, Darrell Arthur also enjoyed the sightseeing that the teams managed to fit in after practise, describing London as a “fun city.” “My highlight was seeing Big Ben,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted the chance to see, so I can scratch that one off my list.”
Talking about CitySport, Arthur said:
I love the facility, it’s really nice and I’m glad we had the chance to come here to practise. I like the multiple baskets, it means we can do a number of different drills.
Darrell Arthur, Denver Nuggets forward
His advice to students? “Keep working on your game, every day as much as you can. Watch players that you’re interested in and try to mimic their game.”
Alongside the training sessions, the NBA, in partnership with Basketball England, hosted a coaching clinic for local schools and basketball team coaches attended by more than 200 coaches.
Neal Meyer, NBA EMEA Associate Vice President – Basketball Operations, introduced the session and spoke about the growing interest in basketball across the world. Later, Denver Nuggets assistant coach Chris Finch talked about how the NBA is keen to transfer knowledge to help the game grow in the UK. He spoke about how basketball coaches are less protective of their ideas and that clinics are invaluable for learning and sharing knowledge.
Bill Thompson, Head of Sport Services at City said: “What an amazing experience it has been hosting with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets. As CitySport is one of the premier facilities within London, it was a natural fit to host the training sessions and the feedback from the organisations has been overwhelmingly positive. That major global sports teams have chosen City as their training facility only shows how fantastic both the site and our professional staff are. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the NBA into the future and seeing how our University and local community can benefit from such an association.”
CitySport is the largest student sports facility in central London. It was chosen as a venue for the teams to train due to the high-specification of the Sports England standard sports hall.