Danny Granger really made the most of his trip this past August to visit Surabya, Indonesia and work with the DetEksi Basketball League (DBL). Not only did he make a great impression with the locals with his kindness and basketball skills, but he earned some non-material rewards which should have other budding NBA stars lining up to visit Surabaya.
Danny's trip has been well chronicled (here, here and here), along with my absolute admiration for the DBL and their mission. Then there was Danny's contract extension and the prayer from the leader of a Surabayan orphanage which had to help.
Now, with Danny's selection to the All-Star game my thoughts immediately turned to the DBL once again. This time because of the special Danny Granger Edition of the Jawa Pos printed during the August visit which included a Danny For All-Star page with good luck messages. Who knew these All-Star wishes would become a reality? From a DBL press release after Thursday's announcement.
Indonesia's biggest student basketball league, the DetEksi Basketball League (DBL), congratulates Danny Granger for being selected to participate in the NBA All-Star Game 2009.
In August 2008, Granger became a part of Indonesia's basketball history. He was the star of the first-ever NBA event in the country, watching DBL Finals and giving basketball lessons to DBL champions in the brand new DetEksi Basketball League Arena in the city of Surabaya.
During the visit, he was also presented with a special edition of the Jawa Pos newspaper (one of Indonesia's biggest newspaper). In the paper, there was a page titled "Danny Granger for All-Star." Inside it, there were good luck messages from Indonesian basketball communities. From the president of Indonesia's basketball federation, professional players, coaches, and high school players from around the country.
"Danny Granger will always be in our heart. He was great when visiting Indonesia, gaining a lot of fans in the process. We are proud of him. All of us from DetEksi Basketball League will be paying attention to the All-Star Game. We hope he will be selected every year!" said Azrul Ananda, DBL Commissioner.
I had to get the reaction from DBL Commissioner, Azrul Ananda once the All-Star team was announced. I also gathered Granger's thoughts on the Surabayan karma continuing to shine through from his trip after the game this past Wednesday in anticipation of the good news to follow the next day.
Danny was quick to remember the support from all the great people who made his trip to Indonesia an experience he'll never forget.
"The fans out there were great and I'm sure many voted for me to make the team, so thanks to all of the fans for supporting me," Granger said on the eve of the All-Star announcement. He also acknowledged some credit has to go to those who wrote messages with All-Star wishes for their NBA hero. "Oh yeah, they do. They do (deserve some credit). That's a great community out there, great country. I'd like to go back sometime."
Considering the great strides Granger's NBA career has taken since the trip, there should be other NBA players lining up to work with the DBL. "I think they will. It's one of the most populated countries in the world, and a great experience, so I think a lot of players should be lining up to go over there."
As for Commissioner Ananda, he was thrilled with Granger's All-Star selection and appreciative of his efforts to help the DBL which continues to grow and thrive. Here is the text of an email Azrul sent after hearing the news.
We are soooo excited when we heard the news this morning (Thursday night is Friday morning in Indonesia). We are now in the middle of the DBL season, traveling around the countries organizing the games. I am currently in Makassar, south sulawesi, starting the DBL season here.
Every where I go, every time I meet DBL champions from last year, they always talk about how great Danny Granger was when he was in Surabaya. They all agree, Granger is soooo nice. Our champions are proud having their pictures with Granger. Now, they can tell people that they have met and trained with an NBA All-Star!!!
Once, I also met a businessman in a plane. He said, "Azrul, when you first announced the arrival of Danny Granger, I was skeptical. I didn't think too highly of him and DBL. But after that, Granger has been doing great. Now I believe in you (DBL) and Granger! I can't wait to find out who will be the next NBA player to train with DBL players."
Whoever the next NBA player is to go to Surabaya, he will have a high standard to follow. It will be hard to leave an impression like Danny did last year!
So there you have it. If you're an NBA player working toward a new contract and All-Star status, you may want to take a trip to visit the DBL. There's something special in the spirit of that league. In fact, I'm thinking maybe the Pacers should send their whole team over this summer and see what kind of impact it can have on a playoff run next year.