The program manager of Sports Beijing’s basketball program, David Gros has spent over 20 years on the basketball court as a semi-professional player in Spain and Serbia. As a coach, Gros emphasizes teamwork and life skills. Originally from Barcelona, Gros arrived in Beijing in 2008, when he started up Sports Beijing’s basketball program. Recently, he visited student council members (Grade 3-5) at International School of Beijing to chat about what it takes to make it on and off the court.
Hannah, 11, US
What inspired you to play basketball?
When I was a kid, all of my classmates played basketball, so I joined the team. I liked it so much that I kept going for 21 years.
Emily, 10, UK/US
What grade were you in when you started playing basketball?
I was 11 years old, so Grade 5.
Ava, 11, US
Before you were 11, did you have an interest in other sports?
I liked swimming, riding my bicycle, and track and field. Right now, I also do tennis once a week and this morning, I went for a run. I do as many sports as possible, because all together they’re a great combination.
Colby, 9, US
Before you got interested in basketball, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a doctor of medicine when I was in elementary school. But when I went into middle school, I got interested in history and political science.
Alex, 9, US
What was the name of your team in Spain?
I played on many teams. The last one was a trade union, UGT Aragon. Before that, I played for KK Zvezdara in Serbia and for Maragall in Barcelona.
Aaron, 10, US
How many years did you play in the Spanish basketball league?
I’m still playing now in friendship games, but I played for 21 years in Spain and Serbia.
Alice, 9, Australia
Have you ever won any basketball championships?
We won three years in a row with my classmates in Spain when I was 17 years old.
Emily, 10, Canada
Have you ever been so seriously injured you couldn’t play?
I sprained my ankle three or four times. Sometimes I’d be out for two or four weeks. [When] I hurt some of my fingers, I was out about a month. But no serious injuries.
Owen, 9, US
What do you like about playing basketball?
I like that you keep running the whole time, you can play offense and defense, dribble, shoot … you’re doing a lot of things.
Andy, 11, South Korea
Are you actually a basketball star, or are you a coach?
I am a basketball coach and I am a former basketball player, but I’m not a star.
Mari, 9, Japan
Who inspired you to become a coach?
My own coaches inspired me to be a coach; they were trying to teach me all these new things and I liked the way they did that. So I thought being a coach was cool, because I could help people.
Claire, 10, US
Who was your coach in Spain?
There was one coach who worked with me and inspired me, because he liked to have all his players working together. Three of us on the team became coaches, so that means he inspired many of us. He’s not a star, but for me, he was the greatest star.
Sophie, 10, Australia
What do you look for in a good player?
A good team player never complains and is always trying to help the coach and teammates find a solution. [He is]always positive; if you are positive, you can do anything.
Katie, 11, South Korea
When did you start at Sports Beijing and why?
I came here in 2008 with my partner. Two months after that I approached Sports Beijing, which did not have a basketball program, so I set it up and we started with a small group of kids.
Lauren, 11, Ireland/US
Do you have any other hobbies?
I love books about history, especially about Europe, because my degree was in the modern history of Europe. I also read books about China.
Winona, 10, Australia
Have you ever thought of giving up?
Why should I give up? Do you give up when you don’t pass an exam? When I [didn’t enjoy playing] basketball, I asked why. Then, when I found out the answer, I tried to find a solution.
Angela, 10, South Korea
Do you think a professional basketball player needs to be tall?
It’s a good requirement, but Nate Robinson is short and he plays professionally for the Chicago Bulls. Before, we had a guy who was 1.6m and he won a dunking contest in the NBA.
Clara, 10, US
How do you communicate with your teammates on the court?
Sometimes you don’t have enough time to communicate because you’re running, but [during]timeouts, we have a minute to talk.
Devon, 9, US
What’s your favorite NBA team and why?
Right now, the Memphis Grizzlies, because they have great team spirit. There isn’t one star; they play good defense together [and]they play as a team.
Photos by SUI
This article originally appeared on p40-41 of the beijingkids June 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com