Interview With Brandon Jennings, NBA Star




Brandon Jennings - NBA Star

Brandon Jennings – NBA Star

Brandon Jennings is a professional basketball player and plays at point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks. Jennings has the distinction of being the youngest player in NBA history to score 55 points in a game which is also the second highest total for a player under 21 years of age only behind LeBron James who scored 56. After graduating from Oak Hill Academy, Jennings chose to play for the Italian club Lottomatica Roma thus making him in the first player to play for an European team rather than play for the college Basketball team since the NBA’s age restriction rule was implemented. I got an opportunity to ask Brandon a few questions and here are a few highlights from our conversation.

Also Read: Interview With Troy Justice – Director Of Operations, NBA India

You have been in India for more than a day now. How are you finding the country, the people, the food etc?

India reminds me a lot about New York City. There are a lot of taxis, a lot of people walking around and a lot of people taking trains which makes me feel like I am in New York City.

The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the name Brandon Jennings is the 55 point game you had against Golden State in 2009. We would like to hear more about that game.

That game was the 7th game in my NBA Career. It was a day where everything clicked. When the second half came, I just felt like I couldn’t miss and the basket just kept getting bigger and bigger. There was a 3 pointer that went in and then I made a second one, then I made 3 in a row and then I made a fourth one and I felt like I was playing by myself.

When did you first decide that you were going to become a professional Basketball player? Was there any person or player that inspired you?

My big inspiration growing up was Alan Iverson who was a small point guard. He was maybe 6’1” as per the NBA. He gave hope to everyone who was short and the things the things he did on court was amazing.

You skipped a year of college to play for the European League in Italy. Any reasons on deciding to do that?

First of all, it was a great opportunity for me and my family. Plus the NBA said we couldn’t come out of high school straight away. This was an opportunity where I had an year to go play professional basketball.

You were then selected for the Milwaukee Bucks. How different is the NBA from the European leagues?

It really is not that different. I got a chance to play in the Euro League and that is the second best league after the NBA. Europe is more about team Basketball. It is not about who gets the best numbers or anything like that. It is just about winning and the passion for the game. In the NBA, there are a lot of great players. So the guys tend to do a lot more but at the end of the day, you all play the game to win.

You suffered an injury late last year which kept you out for almost 20 games. How frustrating was it to watch your team play from the sidelines? How did you deal with it?

That was my first injury ever. So missing out for about 20 games and missing so much in a season was going to be tough for me because I have never been told before that I couldn’t play. That was the first time I’ve been hurt and even mentally it is really tough. The main thing was staying positive. When I was out, I got a chance to work harder on my body and come back stronger.

If you had to pick one player as the toughest competitor on court, whom would you pick?

I would have to say Steve Nash. Nash is one of the toughest to guard because he is always moving and even with his age, he plays like he is 18 or 20 years old.

You have played in the Italian League and seen the game of Basketball grow over there. How long do you think it will take for India to grow into a major Basketball nation?

To tell you the truth, I don’t think it will take that long at all. If India can find one player that is very talented and knows the game, he will grow up. In America, the thing is we love new talents and we hype them so much. So if in India, there is a kid with lots of potential to become big one day, it will help the pace of the growth.

As a part of NBA’s plan to spread the game, you were selected to be a part of the NBA/WNBA Junior National Skills Challenge that culminates on May 15th in Mumbai. How excited are you to be a part of this challenge?

I am excited to just be here and teach the kids the fundamentals of Basketball. I hope when they see me out there, they realize that you don’t have to be 6’7” or 7 feet to play the game of Basketball and I can give them hope and teach them and then work on it.

What are the events that have been lined up for you here in India?

I’ll be here to teach the kids how to play Basketball and I will be going to clinics, give them words of encouragement, letting them know Basketball is a fun game and that it is healthy. The main thing is tell them that you don’t have to be tall. All the best players in the NBA right now are short.

Any plans of picking up a bat and playing Cricket?

Yes! Actually when I got here, I was watching Cricket. I hope I get a chance. If I have the time, I’d like to go out there and play cricket.

What message would you give to all the Basketball fans out here in India?

My advice for people to play Basketball is dream big! Basketball is not a hard game to play but if you want to be really good at it, you will have to work hard, put in the time and most importantly have a great attitude.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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