Published: 04th December 2019
'Court'ing success: Basketball champ Harsimran Kaur talks about her love for the game and the NBA Academies Women’s Program
This 16-year=old from Punjab has represented the country at multiple events and this time, she did India and her father, former basketball player Sukhdev Singh, proud
Harsimran Kaur started playing basketball after she drew inspiration from her father Sukhdev Singh, a former player. So it is obvious that she is not only in it to win it, but also wants to make her father proud while she is at it. And the latter keeps her going. Fresh off the NBA Academies Women’s Program, which began on November 7 and went on till 24 in at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Canberra, Australia, where, by the way, she was the first female prospect from outside Australia to participate. She is geared up to encompass all her learning and move forward with even more gusto.
“The camp not only helped me identify and address the areas I needed to work on but also helped me get better at the game, improve my strategies and served as a platform to showcase my skills,” she says.
We talk to her about the advice her father gave her, how she balances academics and basketball and what her short-term goals are. Excerpts:
Your relationship with basketball and your father is close-knit. Share with us three pieces of advice he gave you which continue to work for you?
Back then my father, Sukhdev Singh, played basketball for his state and that’s where my inspiration for the sport comes from. Ever since I started playing basketball my father always kept giving me tips and advice from his experience and a few things just stuck with me — always keep your feet on the ground; if you want to play the sport, put your heart and soul into the game and peruse it and last but not the least, there will be good days, bad days and a lot of obstacles, but one must always have the courage to overcome those.
How did it feel to be a part of the prestigious camp?
It felt great to be the first female player from the NBA Academies Women’s Program to participate in a multi-week training camp at The NBA Global Academy at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Canberra, Australia. It was an excellent experience to train with prospects from across the globe.
Harsimran Kaur | (Pic: NBA)
What are your biggest takeaways from the camp?
It was one of the biggest opportunities where I got to play with some of the best of upcoming players across the world and the camp really helped me reflect on my strengths and weaknesses for me to become a better player.
How do you balance academics and basketball? What are your other hobbies?
When it comes to maintaining a balance between the sport and academics, it becomes a little difficult at times but at the NBA Academy, we are taught how to manage time and devote time to both equally. I personally believe that when someone is doing something, one must put their heart and soul into it in order to see the results. When I’m on the court playing, I just focus on the game and improve my strategies. I also spend an equal amount of time with my books to maintain my grades. Usually, in my free time, I watch a lot of videos featuring WNBA players.
What are your short-term plans and what do you want to be when you grow up?
I have always loved the game of basketball and my family has also been supportive when it comes to perusing the sport as my career. In the next two years, my aim is to get a hundred per cent scholarship in a Division 1 college in the United States and play in WNBL and NCAA leagues. Last but not least, I aspire to become the first WNBA player from India.
Who are your idols when it comes to basketball?
I look up to my father the most as he is the one who inspires me to perform and get better at the game. When it comes to looking up to a personality from the league, it is Candace Parker, who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association.
Harsimran Kaur | (Pic: NBA)
What do you think worked in your favour when you bagged the MVP award?
I was eyeing the MVP award from day one. My heart and mind were set to achieve it and I did everything I could to play well on the court. Whether it was offence or defence, rebounds or assists, I worked on everything which helped me with my award.
What are some of your shortcomings, both on and off the field, that you would like to overcome?
As a growing player, everything is a challenge and an opportunity. I am told that I am a bit aggressive on court and sometimes that takes over me even off-court, however, I always come back to feeling normal and calm after some time. The fact that I am here to fulfil my dad’s dream, keeps me going, every single day.