NBA show proves a slam-dunk hit

NBA show proves a slam-dunk hit

Young Post junior reporters joined fans at Hong Kong's NBA Madness weekend featuring former top players and dancers

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Young Post junior reporters interview former NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins.
Young Post junior reporters interview former NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins.
Photo: Dickson Lee
For the fifth successive year, the NBA Madness extravaganza came to Hong Kong, allowing fans to meet players and NBA dance teams.

This year, four Young Post junior reporters joined the packed crowd to talk to nine-time NBA All-Star Dominique Wilkins and the Grizz Girls, the dance team of the Memphis Grizzlies, at the event held on September 3 and 4 at APM shopping mall in Kwun Tong.

Kenny Chan Chun-fai, Carmel Divine Grace Foundation Secondary School

Being an NBA fan, I was extremely happy to have the chance to interview the legendary player Dominique Wilkins. Although his golden days were in the 1980s, when he was with the Atlanta Hawks, his performances have influenced many youngsters like me.

My first impression when I met him was that he is really very tall. In Hong Kong, we seldom meet people that stand 2.03m tall, like he is.

I was interested in the rivalry between him and another former star, Michael Jordan, of the Chicago Bulls. I asked Wilkins what he felt whenever he faced Jordan on the court. He jokingly said: "I wanted to kill him." He said their great rivalry was only on the court; off the court, they were, and still are, good friends.

Balwinder Singh Brar, Delia Memorial School (Hip Wo)

Dominique Wilkins, 51, arrived in Hong Kong for the NBA Madness with a broken right arm. But it did not matter because he could still play basketball with the fans. I asked him about the secret behind his great height; he was far taller than me, so I had to look up at him when we spoke. He replied: "Trust me, man, eat vegetables. That is the best way to grow taller."

Then I asked him: "Who is your favourite player in the NBA right now?" He immediately said: "Kobe Bryant."

I also had the chance to interview the Grizz Girls and took photographs with them. They were gorgeous. I was thrilled when Kasie, one of the dancers, came up to me and handed out their autographs.

This was the best experience in my life and I really enjoyed the time with Wilkins and the Grizz Girls. I will never forget this moment.

Jennifer Wong Jing-ting, University of Toronto-St George

In the NBA Madness opening ceremony, the Grizz Girls showed off the dance moves they perform at NBA matches. Their routines were eye-catching and very energetic.

Winning a place on an NBA dance team is really difficult, they said. All of the dancers had to go through a tough selection process because so many people wanted to be part of the dance team.

However, the new NBA season is at risk after the American league filed a lawsuit against the players' union. A lockout, in force since July 1, means teams cannot trade, sign or contact players and players cannot have access to NBA staff or facilities.

The dispute is over how to divide the US$4.3 billion revenue. The NBA wants a change in players' salaries after 22 of the NBA's 30 teams lost money last season. If the dispute is not resolved before the planned start of the season, on November 1, it could lead to the league's first stoppage since 1998, when a lockout cut the season from 82 games to 50.

However, the Grizz Girls say they will keep practising their dance moves until the new season starts.

Andrew Huang, Tonbridge School (United Kingdom)

I am not a huge basketball fan, but I like the sport. The one thing I love about watching NBA is the half-time show when cheerleaders come out to fire up the crowd with their thrilling dance routines. So I was very glad when the Memphis Grizzlies' dance team, the Grizz Girls, took part in NBA Madness.

Grizz Girl Tabitha said: "The life of a dancer is no joke; we practise, practise, practise every day."

Fellow dancer Kasie gave advice for aspiring dancers. "It was a very tough, but rewarding experience to become a dancer for the Grizzlies. There were a lot of hardships to overcome, and countless auditions. But as long as you keep training and dancing, you'll make it," she said.

During our interview, the six Grizz Girls, all from Memphis, Tennessee, were kind and charming.

The Southern state beauties said coming to Hong Kong was an experience of a lifetime. They praised the city's vibrancy and tourist spots, such as the giant Buddha on Lantau Island.

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