Former American professional basketball player Cedric Ceballos has said that one of the biggest problems in sports is convincing parents to allow their children to be involved.

The 1995 NBA All Star and 1992 NBA Slam Dunk Champion, 55, who played primarily for the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, spoke to DAILY POST at the 2022 Power Forward Finals, hosted by Exxonmobil , NBA Africa and PanAfricare.

The NBA legend, who also represented the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat during his playing days, now an ambassador for the game, said much is gained when parents allow their young children to participate in sports in general, Not just in basketball.

“I think the best thing about not just this game but sports in general is that it helps you communicate with others.

“It helps you get along and helps you work as a team. And I think that’s the most important thing, especially to try to convince parents to let children play.

“You know, one of the things that Kobe Bryant was great at, even though he came out of high school and didn’t go to college.

“He went to college while abroad and graduated. You know, he got the degree from him while he was a pro.

“There’s a change, you know, I’ve talked to the kids before and told them the most important thing they have is time and I would love to play this game at the highest level for a long time, but 11 years at the highest level was pretty good.

“You have a short period of time to maximize your potential and your earnings. So if you make the most of the situation now, always because when I was in college, I had people in their 40s, 50s, 60s in classes with me, so it’s never too late for education.

“You can always get your education, but you have a small window as an athlete, so try to make the most of it.

“And then like, for example, Kobe Bryant. Basketball paid for his education, he came back and paid for it himself. He did not trust the scholarship. So if the parents understand the concern, but allow the children to dream and in the midst of the dream, they are going to achieve as much as human beings.

“I was a shy kid and now I have no problem speaking. Now I run my mouth all the time. Sometimes you have to shut me up. But basketball did that for me.

“Because I couldn’t get better at basketball without communicating with my teammates, not paying attention when I listen, not remembering plays and things like that.

“We just want to grow the game. So that children can experience many other things and have many other opportunities to grow.”

Gbemisola Abudu, VP of NBA Africa and national director of Nigeria; Dr. Sani Mohammed Ladan, Director of the FCT Board of Secondary Education; Dr. Patrick Adah, PanAfricare Country Director for Nigeria, also spoke to reporters during the sporting event.