Tuesday, January 19, 2010

J.D. Walsh Spreads Basketball to India

J.D. Walsh teaching basketball in IndiaIf you were a Maryland fan back in the early 1990's, you might remember a back-up forward named John Walsh (1991-93). Now going by J.D., he runs the JD Basketball school in Great Neck, NY and is working to bring basketball to India:
J.D. Walsh, a former Maryland basketball player turned coach, went to Pune, India, in June 2007 to hold a camp. He found local charm—the court was blessed with a coconut—and a willing group of 225 participants, including children who had ridden buses for 20 hours to attend. Since then Walsh has run camps in 14 cities for nearly 9,000 Indian kids. He has observed "small, fervent pockets" of interest.

The Sports Illustrated story linked above is just the appetizer in the story of J.D. Walsh's drive to use basketball for social good and world peace in India and other countries. This story about Walsh in India from Slam Online is the main dish, worth reading from start to finish:
In his years here, JD has conducted clinics for players and coaches in Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore, Midnapore, New Delhi, Srinagar, and in the states of Punjab and Kerala, too. He’s worked with the state basketball associations in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, with educational institutions in various cities, and with several non-profit and non-government organizations. He fondly remembers one of his most extraordinary basketball experiences in India, when he worked with young Muslim women in Chennai who ended up playing veiled behind burkhas.

JD’s efforts to blend basketball with social causes have been well-documented, from the ‘Hoops for Health’ program with an orphanage in Srinagar (Kashmir) to conducting events in Mumbai that will assist in building outdoor basketball courts in the city’s slums. But these are really only just the tip of the iceberg – from Israel, the US, to India, JD’s focus has always been in accommodating social/charity events with basketball.

For lots more info on J.D. Walsh's work in India, including videos and his first hand accounts of his travels, check out J.D.'s blog or Twitter feed. Finally, here is an interview (on YouTube, but audio-only) with J.D. about his career, international basketball, and his organization's work.

No comments: