September 22, 2010
The Purple Room, live from Ludhiana
Over the last month, fierce Toronto Raptors fan, the author of the Raptors Game Time blog, and the face behind the Inside the Purple Room videos Payal Doshi was in India to see sights and catch flights. In the midst of it all, the Indian-origin Canadian also got a chance to witness some of the games at the Mahindra-NBA Challenge in Ludhiana.
A voice-data operator for a Canadian sports channel, Payal has literally brought home her love for the Raptors, and then broadcasted it all over the world. Her "Inside the Purple Room" videos, featuring colourful analysis of Raptors-related stories, have been hitting YouTube from her own room at home, customised to the colours of her favourite team.
Now, Payal hopes to join the growing numbers of young people hoping to give back to basketball in India in her own way. In the future, Payal and her associates are also hoping to launch a basketball website for Indian players, in Canada, and worldwide.
"My first experience with basketball in India was a few years ago," said Payal, "I got the chance to visit a camp held by Baron Davis in Mumbai. As I see now, most Indian youth are still in the beginning stages of understanding the game - what they need is a lot of practice, teaching, good coaches, and need to absorb all information and tips that are passed on their way."
She added: "I am a big fan of what the NBA is trying to do for the game of basketball globally. And with the Mahindra-NBA Challenge, Indian kids are being given a great chance to enhance their involvement in the sport. Basketball is fun, exciting, and inexpensive - find a backboard and you're set!"
Additional to her blog and videos, Payal is also working on her own web-show, entitled Always Looking Up In A Short Girl's World, where she is hoping to focus on the more unknown and underrated basketball talents, and on their journeys in the game.
The city of Toronto itself has many of inner-city basketball leagues, many of the leagues created for the large number of Indian-origin basketball players. Payal has had the chance to follow the careers of the Giant Bhullar Brothers, the seven-footed teenage children of Punjabi parents from near-Toronto, who are set to light the basketball world on fire.
"Both the brothers are currently in High School in the US," Payal said, "Right now, they're popular, but not yet famous. If they keep doing what they are doing, then the sky will the limit for them. They can be a dominant force in basketball."
Payal interacted with several young players at the NBA Challenge in Ludhiana, and was happy to note how excited they were to just play basketball. She will soon be doing a feature on her experiences watching the games and talking with the players, coaches, and organisers at the event.
For now, watch an episode of "Inside the Purple Room", as Payal discusses the (somewhat unfortunate) off-season suffered by the Raptors.