THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kozhikode-based physical education teacher Jose Sebastian was in for a surprise when he was informed by the NBA India recently that he'd be on a flight to China this week to attend the premier US basketball league's showpiece Asian event which is ongoing at the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Jose, the head of the physical education department at the Silver Hills HSS, Kozhikode, was picked as the best coach from Kerala involved in the Reliance Foundation Junior NBA youth basketball development programme and will travel with seven other Indian coaches from various cities to the Land of the Red Dragon.
In China, the 48-year-old will witness two preseason games between the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai and Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on October 5 and 8 respectively. The event will also feature a variety of activities including the seventh annual NBA Fan Day on Thursday at Shanghai.
"It was quite unexpected and took me by surprise. I think this is a reward for all the hard work I have put in over the years. We will be watching two games of the highest standard and also meeting with coaches from across the globe -- all valuable experiences that I can put to good use in my coaching," said the physical education teacher.
Jose developed a liking for basketball while he was at Kristu Jyoti School, Changanasserry and moved to Silver Hills in 2003 when the school had not thought much about sports and other physical activities. However, in the 15 years since then, Jose and his team have managed to write sports into the DNA of the school. Silver Hills now boasts of a basketball team which is one of the best among schools in the state and even can stand on their own against a few professional sides while they also train students in athletics, netball, badminton, chess and rollerskating. "We have around 100 trainees in basketball starting from the fourth standard to 12th who train twice every weekday," said Jose.
And it is for this initiative that the trainer was named the best in Kerala by the Jr NBA programme which focuses on inspiring Indian youth to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle by integrating basketball into the physical education curriculum of each of the 3,000 plus participating schools across the nation.
"The programme is all about getting more children involved in the sport and help them enjoy and have fun playing basketball. But we are also pleased with the results our under-14 boys and girls have brought in the tournaments over the last few years. We definitely have a lot of future stars among us," said Jose.
Shabana Patel from Mumbai, Ravi Kumar from Bengaluru, Ganesh Prabhu from Chennai, Ishwar from New Delhi, Tua Ghatak from Kolkata, Ibrahim Rose Khan from Hyderabad and Ravinder Kaur from Punjab are the other Indian members of the travelling group.