NBA player from the Denver Nuggets, Mason Plumlee speaks to kids during the two-day training camp for youngsters at Gems Wellington Academy in Dubai. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Mason Plumlee, a National Basketball Association (NBA) player with Denver Nuggets, feels that the region or build of a player should not be a deterrent to any youngster towards making it big in his sport.

“There is no such thing as region or build when it comes to sport. I believe that any kid from anywhere in the world can make it big. For example, a kid can from here can go and play anywhere in the world. He can go and play in college in the US to start with, or he can even play in the NBA,” he said on the sidelines of a coaching clinic in Dubai.

“This can happen only when the kids are playing the game while growing up and developing a passion for it all along,” he added.

Plumlee, who first visited Dubai in 2011 with the famed Duke University team that played against the UAE national team, is back this time to pass

on the tricks of the trade to youngsters at the Gems Wellington Academy along Al Khail Road. Earlier this year, Derv Rao of Duplays Sport and Social Club decided to host a two-day basketball camp in the school and Plumlee gladly accepted the offer to come and train the youngsters here.

“Having a training camp is very important in the life of a player who is serious. At some point, there were people who sent me to training camp, and that is when I got to meet college players and players from the NBA. They were who I wanted to become and I got a chance to talk with them and interact with them and it all helped in the long run. I want these kids here to go through a similar experience as it goes a long way in making you into a player. This is my way of giving back to my sport,” Plumlee told Gulf News.

“This is the first time that we are putting together a camp and interacting with these kids. I would like to take this sort of thing forward as time goes on. I believe that if we do it well the very first time, then this will grow and we will be in a better position to have a camp every summer here,” the 27-year-old noted.

“Basketball is a great game and it should be shared with the world. I think we should push it here in the UAE in the right way, and everyone will benefit,” he added.

On February 13 this year, Plumlee was traded, along with a 2018 second round draft pick and cash considerations to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 protected first round pick. Plumlee was a member of the US national team that won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Prior to that, he also won the silver medal with the Under-18 team at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship in 2008.