Durant awed by India’s passion for basketball

From conducting a record-setting basketball lesson to being awestruck by one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Kevin Durant relished his first visit to India.

It’s on us as NBA players to inspire new basketball players.

Fittingly, fans showered the 28-year-old Durant with chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P” when he arrived in New Delhi last Thursday — the first of many outpourings of support for the 2013-14 regular-season MVP in a country where basketball is the second-fastest-growing sport among boys and girls.

The eight-time All-Star showed his appreciation on Friday when he became the first active NBA player to visit The NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training center for the country’s top male and female prospects located in the Delhi National Capital Region.

In addition, the first two NBA Basketball Schools — a network of tuition-based development programs around the world open to international male and female players ages 6-18 — launched in Mumbai in April and in New Delhi in June.

At the academy, Durant led prospects through a series of shooting, passing, dribbling and defensive drills before conducting a large-scale basketball lesson for 3,459 youth from the Reliance Foundation Jr.

Durant’s day also featured the unveiling of two new basketball courts built for the Ramjas School as part of the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.

The Canadian-born Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to play in the NBA when he debuted for the Sacramento Kings on April 7, 2015, while Singh became the first Indian-born player drafted into the league when the Dallas Mavericks selected him with the 52nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.