08 March 2019
Being a Team Singapore basketball player and Singapore Slinger has opened many doors for Ng Han Bin. Yet the most rewarding wasn’t medalling at the 2013 SEA Games or leading the Slingers to the finals of the ASEAN Basketball League, but the lives that he has touched through sport.
After graduating from the Singapore Institute of Management, Han Bin joined the Slingers Outreach Programme team, reaching out to schools and non-profit organisations to promote the club and the game. He believes in the power they have to inspire the younger generation.
“After going to several charitable organizations I knew that we could be a voice in society. That was when I understood a lot of people out there just need to be heard. They want to know that people do care about them. Slowly, they inspired me.”
The first time Han Bin (left) visited Nickson (right) in the hospital. Photo: Ng Han Bin
In 2015, the Make-A-Wish Foundation reached out to the Slingers to grant the wish of 15-year-old Nickson, an avid basketball fan who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia. The Slingers would visit Nickson in the hospital or bring him out for a game of basketball.
But at the end of 2016, Nickson suffered a major relapse. He grew weak from the illness and side effects of medication, including a loss of appetite. “That was when his family invited us for a meal with them. And during that meal, his mother said that that’s the most he had eaten.” After hearing that, Han Bin decided to have as many meals with Nickson as he could. “After our morning training, I would look him up for lunch and play some video games with him if he wasn’t too tired. I would then grab a quick nap before heading for training in the evening.”
As Han Bin recounted the moments he shared with Nickson, it was evident that young Nickson has impacted and inspired him through his indomitable fighting spirit.
Han Bin continues to bring joy to children with blood disorders. Together with Slingers teammate Chris Charles, they are part of an animal-assisted therapy programme.
One of the many times that (from L to R) Esmond, Darius and Darius’ sister supported the Singapore Slingers during the ASEAN Basketball league. Photo: Ng Han Bin
Two of the children that they have been spending time with in the programme, Darius, 7 and Esmond, 5, now even support the players during the Slingers matches.
“As much as we are giving back, we are also building a relationship. If you build a relationship with them, it is easier to inspire them. And many times, they are the ones who inspire me.”
(L to R) Han Bin and Esmond celebrating Darius’ birthday. Photo: Ng Han Bin
Han Bin hopes to be able to reach out to even more people, to do as much as he can for the less fortunate and for more Singaporeans to give back. He hopes one day to be able to open his own children’s home.
“My story shouldn’t just inspire you. It should encourage you to do more. You can make a difference; it doesn’t matter how old you are.” “In sport, we always say dream big. We might be far from our goal, but that’s what it’s about – dreaming big. I believe I can achieve it.”