|He didn't know them, but that was OK, because they didn't know all that much about him, either. |
As the first NBA player to conduct an event in Indonesia, Danny Granger instantly became one of the southeast Asian nation's biggest celebrities.
The Pacers forward spent three days last week as a basketball ambassador to Indonesia, the world's fourth-most populous country (behind China, India and the U.S.). He represented the league in a basketball clinic at the new DetEksi Basketball League (DBL) Arena in Surabaya, working with the top 50 young Indonesian players. He also participated in two events in Jakarta, giving a clinic for 30 youths from an orphanage at the American embassy in Jakarta and participating in a 3-on-3 tournament
Granger's visit received massive media coverage. The Jawa Pos, one of the country's biggest newspapers, put the story on the front page and named one version the "Danny Granger Edition."
"It's really great to meet young Indonesian players," the 25-year-old Granger told The Jakarta Post before one of his sessions. "I think the (clinic) will be memorable for them, meeting an NBA player in person. Hopefully, today's experience can encourage them in playing better basketball in the future."
He told Antara News he hoped his visit would "inspire the youngsters."
Some of them weren't familiar with him before the clinics but they quickly became fans.
“All I know he’s an NBA player," said one 12-year-old player to Tempo Interactive.
Should he return in 2009 for the first Indonesia Development Camp hosted by the NBA, odds are Granger will be a much more familiar face.