Two-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard shared his top tips with Hong Kong’s most promising basketball players – he even singled out a young player for his impressive performance during a 3v3 exhibition game.
The Portland Trail Blazers point guard was welcomed by star-struck fans at the Chu Hai College of Higher Education on Monday. Lillard, 26, is on his adidas Asia tour to promote his sport to young people, and his arrival certainly hyped fans up for the 2017 adidas Streetball Challenge to be held later this year.
Lillard watched on as Ying Wah College’s top basketball players took to the court for a 3v3 game. The high-intensity match impressed the American, but he insisted there was room for improvement.
“There’s a lot more space on the court during 3v3, so you need to work hard to fill in the spaces and be the extra man,” he said. “And don’t rush; playing at 200 miles an hour is easy to guard. Give yourself space and use both sides of the court to your advantage,” he added.
There was one particular Ying Wah College student who caught Lillard’s eye during the showcase: Peter Yu Chi-chun, 17.
“He had some good techniques. He has the fadeaway shot down. He was always competing, and I liked that because a lot of talented players don’t always compete,” said the former NBA Rookie of the Year.
Peter was delighted that his efforts were recognised by such an elite basketball player. “I felt really nervous at first, but after feeling the basketball, I felt comfortable and just wanted to get advice from Damian,” he told Young Post. “He told me to keep repeating my shots because hard work is important at the start.”
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3v3 basketball is arguably more popular than full-court basketball in Hong Kong, due to accessibility and the speed of the game. “I prefer 3-on-3 because there are so many street courts in Hong Kong,” said Peter, who will be devoting more time to practise as he prepares for the next year’s inter-school basketball events.
Young players listened intently as Lillard revealed his top three tips to becoming a successful basketball player.
“You need talent, a great work ethic, and a strong mentality. It’s hard to beat that combination,” he said, adding that he is also looking to improve his individual and team performances for next season. “We want a better season and will try to get into the Western conference championships and on to the Finals”
Lillard, who also goes by rap name Dame Dolla, stressed the importance of having a balance in life. In his case, music is his outlet: “Music gives me balance. It’s something that I’m passionate about and can turn to when I want to share my thoughts or blow off steam.” He will be releasing new music this year.
This is Lillard’s first time in the city, and he expressed his desire to experience Hong Kong culture.
“I was surprised at the way Hong Kong looked. It kind of looked like Miami at first,” said Lillard. “So far, I’ve only been around the malls, but I couldn’t fit into any of the clothes,” joked the 1.9–metre star.