The U.S. Embassy in London, partnering with the National Basketball Association (NBA), hosted nearly 130 guests from the Greenhouse Schools Project for a screening of Game Two of the NBA Finals between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Greenhouse Schools Project provides sports and arts programs, including basketball, table tennis, and dance, for underprivileged youth in Greater London. Between the hamburgers, hotdogs, and intense competition on the big screen, the students quickly caught on to the true American sporting tradition.
Deputy Cultural Attaché Rakesh Surampudi welcomed the students and their family members, many of whom had never been to Central London, and spoke about the importance of building teamwork and community through sports. The NBA brought Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach Terry Stotts to address the kids, who seized the opportunity to ask questions about the traits necessary to be a successful professional basketball player. A 14-year NBA coaching veteran and former player himself, Coach Stotts emphasized the importance of both physical and mental toughness and provided the kids with real insights into the daily life of NBA players. He cited Michael Jordan as a timeless example of an all-around solid player.
The students seemed to feel as if they were watching the game live, cheering for their favorite sides and holding their breath through an exciting overtime. Crowd favorites Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant were the talk of the Embassy auditorium throughout the game. The Lakers squeezed out a 101-96 victory over the Magic, giving them their second win of the series. Students left Grosvenor Square cheering “USA! USA! USA!” before bravely venturing out into a tube-less London.