At 28 years of age, Team Singapore basketballer and Singapore Slingers player Ng Hanbin can count on some 18 years of experience duking it out on the court. Now, he is eager to give back to the community and the sport that is closest to his heart.
Over the past year, besides competing professionally with the national team and in the ASEAN Basketball League, Hanbin has been assisting head coach Neo Beng Siang in the Jr. NBA programme and the ActiveSG Basketball Academy, imparting skills and knowledge to children and youths aged from five to 14.
“When I first took up the role, I decided that I really wanted to make an impact,” he shared.
Hanbin has been enjoying the experience of working in these programmes thus far, having been to more than a hundred schools and charitable organisations for community outreach events. His involvement, alongside his other Slingers teammates, was a move in the right direction, according to him.
“I think basketball in Singapore is not as popular now, but I believe it has the potential to grow. Collaborating will give [the Singapore Slingers] more support, and with that support I believe we can reach out to the larger community and eventually help to grow the sport,” he stated.
“With the ActiveSG Basketball Academy, I can reach out to even more kids to talk about what I’m doing,” said Hanbin, who hopes to make an impact on the lives of the young participants, in a manner similar to some of his previous coaches.
Crediting his primary school teacher-cum-coach’s strong emphasis on fundamentals, Hanbin believed that he received the right kind of training when he picked up basketball at the age of 10.
“You watch the highlight videos on the Internet and all, but when you actually grow in the sport, you realise that everything boils down to the fundamentals,” he explained.
Hanbin also emphasized on the importance of young players learning discipline and developing the right attitude from playing the game, and that these values can be applied to everyday life.
“If we can instill [discipline] in [the children], then it will help them in terms of learning, because they develop the right kind of discipline and attitude towards learning, and it will translate to everything else in their life,” he said.
“I think my role as a coach of young players is really to drill [in] the fundamentals and the right mentality towards learning,” Hanbin elaborated.
While the ActiveSG Basketball Academy participants will surely pick up plenty of tips and techniques from Hanbin over the course of the programme, the Team Singapore representative revealed that coaching these children has also been a source of inspiration and strength for him to achieve more in his basketball career.
“These kids actually come to my games,” he shared.
“And because of them, it makes me want to push even further in the sport, and the feeling of wanting to help out my teammates, and impacting the next generation – they are the key [reasons] why I’m still playing the game professionally,” Hanbin confessed.
Acknowledging that a professional career in basketball is not a common choice in a country like Singapore, Hanbin hopes that children will see him as a role model and believe that positive outcomes can be achieved if they work hard.
“I always believe that you got to know yourself, and there will be a lot of noises that discourage you from what you want to do. But ultimately it’s about what makes you happy,” he pointed out.
“Basketball is obviously not something that [most] people do [as a career] in Singapore, so there will be a lot of people that will tell you this is not the way to go, but at the end of the day, things will work out for you, like how it has worked out for me,” Hanbin enthused.