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Getting To Know The Ballers

 

Deshi Ballers arranged the International Women's Day 3x3 Basketball Tournament which was sponsored by Save & Serve Foundation.

The tournament had two sections where boys and girls from different age groups participated according to their skills. Let's get to know the winners of the tournament as they share their experience and journey into the world of Basketball.

 

 

BOYS TOURNAMENT

 

●      Best Defensive Player: Ibrahim (Team Boomshakalaka)


1.   A short introduction of your education and childhood.

I'm Ibrahim and I did my O and A'levels in The Aga Khan School Dhaka. After that, I pursued my undergrad in Business Studies from Coventry University and MBA from North South University majoring in Marketing. I'm currently the Deputy Head of Bongo Studios in Bongo.

 

2.   How did your journey in the world of Basketball begin?

My basketball journey started when I went with my mom to pick my sister up from school which was AKS at the time, and I would just stand there and look at the glorious court and people playing and for some reason, I knew that's all I wanted to do. And before you know it, I got into the Aga Khan School and the basketball court became my home.

 

3.   Who are your greatest supporters who motivated you to continue on this journey?

When I started my greatest supporters were my family and friends. My parents saw how passionate I was for basketball and were always encouraging me to keep playing. My mother would even go to under 16 national practices and sit on the sidelines for the three-hour practice sessions which was super embarrassing at the time because she was the only one, but I realize now the sacrifice she made then. My friends played a big role as well because they made me get better daily and play a massive role in my overall development. After that, I was lucky to meet my soul mate Ashreen who is also a National team basketball player, and of course we met on the basketball court which is very poetic, to say the least. She is my biggest fan, supporter, coach, medic, inspiration and is always there to root me on and I'm extremely lucky to have a partner with the same journey and destination.

 

4.   How is Deshi Ballers contributing to the progress of Basketball in Bangladesh? How was your experience in Deshi Ballers Women's Day tournament?

Deshi Ballers is doing big things for Basketball in Bangladesh. To start off, they are creating awareness and opportunities for Women's Basketball which is a very primal right which is the right to play sports but has always been ignored by the people in power. Apart from that, they are building a powerful community of future leaders who will promote the benefits of basketball, create more opportunities and develop future talent as well. Deshi Ballers have a dream to create revenue-generating streams for female basketball players so they can look at basketball as a career and the start of that would be the first-ever Women's Basketball League in the country.

 

5.   What goal do you want to achieve in the field of Basketball?

I have personally achieved a lot of the milestones that can be accomplished as a player. I have won international trophies with the Bangladesh National team, Multiple Premier League medals, Bangladesh Games Gold, and a lot of other tournament victories both underground and official. As for what I want to achieve, I still want to keep playing at the highest level for as long as I can and want to keep getting better. Secondly, I want to help Deshi Ballers achieve their goal and collectively really make a difference for the beautiful game of basketball in Bangladesh. And lastly, at some point I want to start to really get into coaching and help the future talent of this country.

 

 

●      Playmaker Award: Romel (Team Rain)


1.   A short introduction of your education and childhood.

I was born and brought up in Chittagong. Not very excellent in studies, I had been a very polite child in the classroom but the most notorious one. I used to look for shortcuts to pass my examinations, but later realised that shortcuts are not my best possible ways - probably a lifelong lesson which I still hold on to.

My alma maters were St. Placid School, Notre Dame College and Chittagong University who played a big role in helping me move on with Basketball.

 

2.   How did your journey in the world of Basketball begin?

I started playing Basketball when I was in Class 1. I have represented my alma maters in numerous tournaments. My love for the game started when I was in St. Placid. Representing the school team numerous times, my turning point was in 2010 when I first played for the National Team and represented Bangladesh in India. I have now devoted myself to it; taking it up as my career and helping Basketball grow in Bangladesh.

 

3.   Who are your greatest supporters who motivated you to continue on this journey?

My coaches and my parents were my biggest support since my childhood. My parents, never for a day, asked me to stop playing and I have always been inspired to play better everyday.

Not to forget, for the last 10 years, I had a constant supporter who held my hand every time I was about to fall, who used to save up pennies so that she could come and watch my game, support and motivate me. She is my better half, my constant - Fahmida.

 

4.    How is Deshi Ballers contributing to the progress of Basketball in Bangladesh? How was your experience in Deshi Ballers Women's Day tournament?

I like how Deshi Ballers are giving their best to keep the Ballers alive and help in contributing to the society. Deshi Ballers are trying their best to encourage all the players, especially females, to continue playing and providing them with their needs as much as possible.

Deshi Baller's Women's Day Tournament was a triumph to me. Also, seeing the parents coming to support their children brought a smile on my face because that was taking a step closer to keep the game alive.

 

5. What goal do you want to achieve in the field of Basketball?

My goals in the field of Basketball are never ending. Being a coach for over 10 years and a player for almost 20 years, my principle is to keep the game on-going and make it as popular as Cricket and Football in Bangladesh. I am also trying hard to create a safer environment for every player to play on the field, a place where no teams are deprived and each gets fair trials.

 

 

GIRLS TOURNAMENT

 

●      MVP: Aryah (Team Shooting Stars)


1.   A short introduction of your education and childhood.

I’m a middle schooler at Sunbeams and well there’s not much to say about my childhood seeing that I’m still in the middle of it but so far its been really great and I have a great team and community of people I can play basketball with so I’m really privileged in that sense.

 

2.   How did your journey in the world of Basketball begin?

My “journey” has been really short considering that I started playing a year and a half to two years ago but I’ve always loved playing and basketball was just something fun to do with my friends.

 

3.   Who are your greatest supporters who motivated you to continue on this journey?

My greatest supporters have been my friends, my family and the entire Sunbeams basketball community. They’ve always been really supportive and nurturing even when I was just starting out in the game. Manar, a friend of mine who plays alongside me has been an indomitable driving force for me.

 

4.   How is Deshi Ballers contributing to the progress of Basketball in Bangladesh? How was your experience in Deshi Ballers Women's Day tournament?

Deshi Ballers is doing a lot of great work especially for women’s basketball in Dhaka, they host tournaments and help a lot of players further develop their skillset which is really great. I personally had a great time at the IWD tournament and it felt great to be around so many familiar and known faces.

 

5.   What goal do you want to achieve in the field of Basketball?

As far as goals go, I want to be as good as I possibly can be. I want to continue to improve every day and just avoid that stagnancy that a lot of players I know struggle with.

 

 

●      Top Scorer: Crystal (Team Old School)


1.   A short introduction of your education and childhood.

I grew up in the United States, and I have been playing and watching sports my entire life. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Spanish teaching and a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

 

2.   How did your journey in the world of Basketball begin?

When I was in 5th grade, I joined our school's traveling basketball team. We played for 4 months of the year practicing 3 nights a week as a team and then on weekends we would travel to various cities to compete in tournaments. For our traveling teams, our parents coached us and put together team meals, so it was really a family event.

 

3.   Who are your greatest supporters who motivated you to continue on this journey?

My family was my biggest support during my basketball journey. My dad coached my team as well as my siblings' teams for various sports, and my siblings and I were often seen challenging each other to get better every day. We all loved playing various sports, so we would play softball, basketball, volleyball, and football together. We were always outside either working on the farm or playing sports together.

 

4.   How is Deshi Ballers contributing to the progress of Basketball in Bangladesh? How was your experience in Deshi Ballers Women's Day tournament?

Deshi Ballers is greatly contributing to the progress of basketball in Bangladesh by giving all women a safe place to play. As soon as I got connected with Deshi Ballers, I knew it would become my home during my time in Dhaka. Basketball is about so much more than just winning, and Deshi Ballers is really focusing on creating a community where everyone feels welcome to play basketball and encourages women to be active and continue to improve their skills no matter their level or age. I had a phenomenal experience in the Deshi Ballers Women's Day tournament. It was so much fun to be out on the court playing with many of the girls have I coached in practices. Watching the growth and confidence of players throughout the day filled my heart with joy. The day was filled with fun, joy, laughter, and so many hugs! It was a day where I felt surrounded by people who love the game of basketball and supported everyone playing.

 

5.   What goal do you want to achieve in the field of Basketball?

I spend most of my time coaching, so the goal I wish to achieve during my stay in Bangladesh is to continue to grow and enhance basketball here. Many players have been playing for years, but they don't have the basic fundamentals to enhance their game. Through coaching with Deshi Ballers and playing, I hope to push and grow the game of basketball as well as start opening up opportunities for younger girls to play.

 

 

●      Best Defensive Player: Manar (Team Shooting Stars)

1.   A short introduction of your education and childhood.

I am Manar Tanvir, 15 years old, currently studying in Class 8 of Sunbeams.

 

2.   How did your journey in the world of Basketball begin?

From a very young age, I’ve watched my father play. Then, I ve seen my sister play alongside other seniors at school. Eventually I started playing at school when I was around 8 years old.

 

3.   Who are your greatest supporters who motivated you to continue on this journey?

My family, friends, teammates, and coach, Niaz sir have all been very supportive. Aryah, a friend and teammate has been one of the greatest supports. I feel blessed and am so grateful for all the support.

 

4.   How is Deshi Ballers contributing to the progress of Basketball in Bangladesh? How was your experience in Deshi Ballers Women's Day tournament?

Deshi ballers has played a crucial role in developing women’s basketball in Bangladesh and continue doing so, fighting against the odds. As for the women’s day tournament, there were so many participating teams, it was so well organized, undoubtedly one of the best tournaments. I personally had a great time.

 

5.   What goal do you want to achieve in the field of Basketball?

I love basketball. I want to continue playing and improving to become the best I can be.

 

 

●      Playmaker Award: Umama (Team Last Minute)


1.   A short introduction of your education and childhood.

I was in South Breeze school till grade 4 and then at Sunbeams till grade 10 and did my Alevels at Mastermind. I completed my undergraduate with an economics degree at Mount Holyoke College. I played basketball for all these institutions that I was a part of.

 

2.   How did your journey in the world of Basketball begin?

During my time at South Breeze, we were occasionally taken to the Abahani indoor basketball court for games class. I remember those trips feeling super special to me. I would watch senior players getting coached on the other side of the court and wanted to be a good a player as them one day.

When I was in grade 3 I participated in my first tournament - my school's intra school tournament. I was the youngest player and had just learnt to play. I expectedly lost but I think that tournament made me realize I could be good at this sport.

Since then, I have played for Sunbeams through middle school and high school.

While at Sunbeams I was lucky to be part of the first Women's National Basketball team and played two leagues.

At Mastermind, one of my best friends Sudeshna and I had to form a team ourselves to compete in school tournaments because Mastermind did not have a girls basketball team.

At Mount Holyoke, I played division III basketball as part of the varsity team. In between, I've played underground basketball!

 

3.   Who are your greatest supporters who motivated you to continue on this journey?

My community of basketball players who somehow always find their way back to the court no matter where life takes them motivates me the most - this community is made up of my teammates from school, my opponents who turned to friends, players I met while playing underground basketball, coaches everybody.

I also have to mention my family. During school tournaments, my entire family would show up to support and cheer me and my team on. My younger sister would be there with signs, recording games for us. I loved having them there with me.

 

4.   How is Deshi Ballers contributing to the progress of Basketball in Bangladesh? How was your experience in Deshi Ballers Women's Day tournament?

Deshi Ballers has created a really special community for female basketball players in this country. They are helping popularize the sport as a whole, but especially for women and girls, in this society through great advocacy on social and traditional media, large attractive events such as the Women's Day tournament but also skill building initiatives which will improve the overall level of women's basketball in the country in the long run. The number of new members they have been able to add to the community is amazing.

The women's day tournament was full of energy. Deshi Ballers have really set the bar high for basketball tournaments. It was amazing to see so many teams on court, so much love for basketball. The organizers deserve a big round of applause for pulling it off and becoming bigger and better each year since their first women's day tournament.

 

5.   What goal do you want to achieve in the field of Basketball?

I want to see programs and facilities expand in the field of Basketball so there are more opportunities for women and girls to not only take up this sport but be technically skilled players who are able to compete internationally.

 

 

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