In this episode of NBA India All-Access, we welcome Shreyas Iyer, batsman for the Indian senior national cricket team.
Over the past few days, Iyer was in Chicago to take in the festivities of the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend. During the trip, he took out some time to speak to NBA.com/India to talk about his experiences from the star-studded weekend.
Here's how the conversation went:
NBA.com/India: Did you follow basketball or the NBA while back in India?
Shreyas Iyer: I have always had a love for basketball having grown up watching legends likes of the late Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Apart from my cricket schedule, I would also find time to play the sport when I was growing up. Even today, I always try to keep track and catch up on some matches.
Moreover, in India too, the followership for the sport is immense. Players like Satnam Singh have also added to interest in the sport. It's played in a lot of schools and colleges and it's growing rapidly.
NBA.com/India: Is Basketball your second sports love after Cricket?
SI: Being an athlete and a professional sportsperson, I've followed a lot of sports, learning different virtues from each of them, Basketball being one.
Great fun to meet you guys 🏀⭐️ #NBAAllStarWeekend pic.twitter.com/zfPhaFi5oo- Shreyas Iyer (@ShreyasIyer15) February 15, 2020
Cricket is my love and passion, I don't think I have or can have a second love in life.
NBA.com/India: Your favourite NBA player and favourite NBA team?
SI: I don't necessarily have a favourite NBA team but I'm a huge LeBron James fan and getting to watch him up close and live was amazing.
NBA.com/India: Your most memorable experience from the NBA All-Star Weekend?
SI: I had a great time here. There were so many moments which stood out for me like meeting Shaq and Zach LaVine in addition to experiencing the electric courtside environment and the culture was thrilling.
Big @SHAQ 🤩🤩 Such an honour to meet you LEGEND 🏀🙌🙌#nbaallstar pic.twitter.com/p3I5doazPG- Shreyas Iyer (@ShreyasIyer15) February 16, 2020
But, as I said, being a LeBron James fan, watching him live, was most memorable.
NBA.com/India: How was the in-arena experience different from what you normally witness or feel in a cricket stadium?
It is not a fair comparison. Cricket has been a passion and I grew up with the dream of representing my country one day. So now, when I take the field in national colours, there is a different adrenaline that runs through my blood. The crowd cheer, of course, reverberates with it.
All Star ⭐️ Saturday night let's go 🏀🤩 #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/7oWJUV6ShT- Shreyas Iyer (@ShreyasIyer15) February 16, 2020
Here, for me, was a different experience to witness the NBA All-Star action live from courtside. It had been a dream to watch basketball greats and living legends like LeBron James and Dwight Howard up close in action.
The culture and fan craze here is of a different level which I had seen on TV till now but being here to see, is another experience altogether.
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