Adi Vase was five months old when he left Pune, but he still remembers St Vincent's School, shrewsbury biscuits, and Irani chai - thanks to stories from his father which has kept his bond with the city intact.
Spending his childhood in Dubai and then moving to the US to pursue his dream of being part of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Vase has done everything right to be a well-known name in the basketball circuit.
Vase is currently the assistant performance coach for the Golden State Warriors and is urging to come back to Pune to spread the knowledge of basketball.
"I have heard a lot of stories about Pune, the city has immense talent when it comes to basketball. Now, St Vincent's School also has an indoor basketball court which is great news for the improvement of the sport. Definitely, I will return to the city where I was born, someday," Vase said.
According to Vase, in other parts of India as well there is a lot of talent but there is a lack of infrastructure for basketball in the country.
"Once the infrastructure is in place, it will benefit players," Vase said who wanted to become a basketball player, but switched to becoming a coach.
"I was 17, (in Dubai) when I had a couple of knee injuries, and it made me take this decision. If I cannot play physically, I can still motivate and encourage my team and this brought me into the field of coaching," Vase said.
Vase said the decision to switch to coaching was very challenging.
"You need to be self-aware as a player but as a coach, you need to keep track of your team and you need to keep them motivated even when the team loses and it is important to keep players in a healthy state of mind," Vase said who used to play as a shooting guard and small forward during his playing days.
NBA academies adding to popularity
The NBA is conducting many activities across India which is helping the sport reach the masses and attract more players.
"In India, cricket is the most popular game and one needs just a bat and ball to play it, stumps could be made up of anything but for basketball, we need proper courts and NBA knows this and that's why they have opened up academies in India. Once there is an academy in every part of the country, the game will easily grow," Vase said.
Focus on fitness
According to Vase, some Indian players reach a height of 7 feet, but if you are 6 feet 5 inches or 6 feet 8 inches, there is always a great demand in the NBA.
"I think, soon there will be many Indian players who will be making the cut to the NBA. They just need to focus on fitness along with basketball. I have seen many Indian players, they have skills but fitness is something on which they don't focus and it keeps them behind," added Vase.
Name: Adi Vase
Coach: Assistant performance coach, Golden State Warriors
Best players coached: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs), Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)
Favourite player: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) - Great leadership skills and competitiveness
Past coaching experience: Athletic development quality assurance assistant at San Antonio Spurs, Assistant strength and conditioning coach at Los Angeles Lakers.
What NBA players are doing in lockdown
It is an uncertain time, especially for teams who are in the race for the playoffs and championship. Players are unsure whether they will play again, so all stars are working out to stay fit and healthy in case the season starts again and the NBA finishes the playoffs. Stars are also giving back to their community, throwing virtual graduation celebrations for many high school kids since schools are shut down. Additionally, many have taken time to do public service announcements in the fight against Covid-19.
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