UGANDA : AND 1 leaves lasting mark on Ugandan basketball

When Sprite brought the legendary AND1 basketball team to Kampala, it was almost like a dream come true for those basketball fans that really had fancied street ball. True some people were more of doubting Thomases because they could not believe such an event could be pulled off in Uganda but that did not even get as close to putting a halt on the excitement people felt.

One case is when the team actually arrived in Uganda and took its opening act to Greenhill academy. The grounds were littered with children just waiting to see what the team had up their sleeves. To these youngsters that could only afford to get a glimpse of these stars on video games and DVDs, it was a thrilling moment, almost too much for them to take in especially for Emmanuel Okiror, who got his chance of a lifetime to actually step on the court with his dream players and try to best them at their own game.

He says; “I still can not believe am standing next to them, I have always been watching them on TV and playing games on the X-Box. I just can’t believe they are here.”

But what was bizarre were the mixed reactions the team received. Aside from the crazed fans that knew what was going on, some students were totally clueless about who was in their presence. And it was actually their first time to get acquainted with the sport but that did not stop them from getting autographs from the superstars and having a good time.

And when the event moved on to YMCA, where an exhibition game was held between the street ball legends and Uganda’s own select side, the turn-up was remarkable.

The event pulled more fans into the gymnasium than the ordinary competitive basketball. The showy and entertainment style of basketball had fans seated at the edges of their seats and gripped with excitement as players like Hot Sauce dazzled fans with his fancy ball-handling skills and Guy Dupuy who managed to wow he crowd with his freestyle dunking techniques as he dunked over three people.

The exhilarating moves they displayed on court left even our own players baffled