Denver Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried visited India in June as part of the NBA’s effort to grow the game in the world’s second-most populous country.
The NBA Academy India, where the country’s top male and female prospects can live and train, opened in New Delhi in May.
Faried was there to attend a basketball festival in New Delhi, appear on an NBA talkshow and make the rounds at children’s basketball camps. One of the lessons Faried learned during his travels is that even if you are a large, athletic-looking man at a basketball camp, the kids there still might think you’re a cricket player.
“They thought I was (West Indies cricketer) Chris Gayle,” Faried told Sports Illustrated’s Rohan Nadkarni. “Cricket is huge here. We respect cricket, we love cricket, we just want to be up there with them. Maybe be the No. 2 sport if we can.”
Chris Gayle is a Jamaican-born cricketer who has a reputation as a hard-hitting batsman. There is a little resemblance between Gayle and Faried, though Faried is taller by about 5 inches. But you can see why the children mistook Faried for Gayle, who stars in India’s most popular sport.
To his credit, Faried seemed to take the honest mistake in stride. He had nothing but good things to say about his going overseas, whether it was about basketball, the cuisine or the sights and sounds. Faried, who is Muslim, said that one of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Taj Mahal.
“It was the most magnificent thing I’ve seen in my life thus far,” Faried told SI.
Go check out the question-and-answer in its entirety here.
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