Full circle for Black

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
Full circle for Black
Norman Black
STAR / File

For Norman Black, life has been a ball. Make that a basketball. He’s accomplished everything someone with a career in hoops could ever dream of achieving. Black played in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, scored 53 points for the Philadelphia Kings in the Continental league, won two PBA titles as a player, bagged 11 PBA championships – including a Grand Slam – as a coach, took five UAAP crowns as a coach, piloted the Philippine squad to the gold medal at the 2011 SEA Games and was enshrined in the Sports Hall of Fame at St. Joseph’s University, his alma mater, Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame (honoring the city’s outstanding athletes from five NCAA D1 schools), Baltimore Catholic League Hall of Fame as a star with the Cardinal Gibbons high school varsity, Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame and PBA Hall of Fame.

Now at 66, Black has embarked on a new mission in his basketball journey. He’s heading up SBP’s grassroots development program and within the next two months, he hopes to visit eight regions, reaching out to 12U and 16U kids in spreading the gospel of playing the game the right way. That’s not all on Black’s plate. He’s also a consultant with Meralco in the PBA and San Beda in the NCAA. It’s no coincidence that in his debut with the Red Lions, San Beda captured the NCAA crown last season.

(SBP executive director) Erika (Dy) is spearheading the grassroots program and pushing it forward,” said Black. “Im just helping to execute itFor me, its like going full circleI was doing Burlington Basketball Tips for kids in school before I started coachingNow, Im back to teaching kids, boys and girls as well as coaches with SBPOur goal is to cover 16 regions by the end of the yearWhen the PBA season ends, well accelerate our visits to different provincesWere thinking out of the boxFor kids, we want them to get used to playing one-on-one defense and offenseWere not playing zone, were developing guard and wing skillsWere working with elite U16 kids, doing clinics for U12 kids and also clinics for coaches wherever we go.”

In Tuesday’s column, Black reveals what SBP’s grassroots program’s ultimate goal is and shares his experience in observation trips to Australia and Serbia to prepare for the launch of SBP’s initiative in the country’s 16 regions.

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