July 26, 2010

Former NBA player Marty Conlon assists the Mahindra Challenge in Bangalore

After spending a decade as a hard-working journeyman around the NBA and around the world, Marty Conlon is back in India to share some of his experience and wisdom with hoop dreamers in India! Conlon has been brought in for the Bangalore edition of the Mahindra NBA Challenge to hold coaching clinics with the basketball players in the city. Additionally, he has also been holding coaching clinics at schools and other venues around Bangalore.

“My job is to work with the league here in Bangalore and make sure that it runs professionally,” Conlon said. The Mahindra Challenge in Bangalore was launched on the 17th of June, but the games got underway over the last weekend. “Over 70 teams are competing,” he added, “The players and coaches are very excited, and it was an explosive start to the league with some hard-played matches.”

A six-foot-ten rebounding expert with a penchant for hard work and rebounding, Conlon played for several NBA teams, including the Seattle Supersonics, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Bullets (now the Wizards), the Milwaukee Bucks (where he spent the most distinguished years of his career), the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and the Los Angeles Clippers. At the end of his NBA career he took his game abroad to play in several countries in Europe including Italy and Greece. He has worked with basketball training in several countries around the world, and this is his second trip to India, after coming here for the ‘NBA Hoop School’ two years ago.

“It has been great working with different age groups and with players of both genders,” said Conlon of the participants in the Bangalore NBA Challenge, “It has been a great experience for me so far. There is a real hunger amongst the players here.”

Conlon was known for his intelligent play and he looks for some of the same traits amongst the Indian players that he is now working with. “I’m impressed by the skills and the smarts of some of these players,” he says, “I like hardworking, hustle guys. Athletic talent is important, but I’ve seen Indian players who have great intelligence also being able to compete – this is what makes basketball a great sport.”

Conlon agrees that the Mahindra Challenge is a big step for the players here to become competent with the level of basketball in the US, but he says that there is room for improvement in the player’s athleticism and their cardiovascular training.

Conlon will be in India for one month, after which he will be replaced by his colleague Greg Stolt.

The Mahindra-NBA Challenge has been launched as a multi-city community based recreational league in India. It will run for seven weeks every year in youth and senior divisions for men and women. The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) is working with the NBA to implement and oversee league operations. After a successful league in Mumbai, the Mahindra-NBA Challenge opened in Bangalore on July 17th and is set to open in Ludhiana on July 31st.

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