On September 23rd, I had an amazing opportunity to be a guest speaker at the Under Armour Next Combine Series held in Toronto, in partnership with Jr. NBA. This event could be best described as a mini NBA combine series where 50 of Toronto’s talented male and female basketball players under the age of 14 were selected to participate.
Throughout the day, these young athletes were put through an experience similar to an NBA combine. It began with individual assessments of their athletic abilities, followed by skills work and teaching different offensive and defensive concepts as well as game break downs. It concluded with games and competitive play.
There was also a discussion and Q&A component where these athletes were able to learn from past and current professional basketball players about what it takes to compete at the highest level at either at the college or professional level. I was fortunate to be one of the speakers on this Q&A panel along with Vin Baker. Vin Baker is a former NBA All Star who is now a broadcaster for FOX Sports Wisconsin. The topics that were discussed included the importance of taking care of our bodies in order to sustain and prolong our professional careers. We explained to the kids that nutrition, training, recovery as well as making smart choices were extremely valuable in order to maintain our careers.
Other topics that we covered were leadership, what that looks like, and the importance of being leaders both on and off the court. We also covered the topic of branding in a positive manner on social media and the importance of making wise decisions before posting on the internet for the world to see.
I enjoyed being able to share advice, encouragement, lessons I've learnt and parts of my story with these incredible, young rising stars. But, the best part of the day was when I was able to interact with them during their on court sessions.
It was a fantastic event, and a one of a kind experience for the kids! The talent and passion for the game is growing in Canada, especially in Toronto. We are already seeing the results of the growing talent with more and more Canadians playing in both the NBA and WNBA. Hopefully this will be the first of many UA Next Combine Series for years to come.
I would like to give a big thank you to the WNBA and NBA Canada for allowing me to be a part of such an incredible event as well as Under Armour for their generosity in gifting me and the young athletes a pretty sweet swag bag!
Thanks for stopping by, and God bless,
Kindly edited by Aneela Khan