Professional Basketball Player who has played for India from 2017 and currently plays on the National Team. Part of the Gold Medal winning squad at the 2019 South Asian Basketball Games. The 24 year old, 6 ft 3’ tall player, plays Point Guard and Shooting Guard.
When he made his India debut at 21 for the South Asian Championship in Maldives, he achieved a rare feat, playing for the senior squad without prior U18 or U16 experience. After losing his spot in the squad, he regained it in 2019 and was a key architect of the 2020 win against Iraq in the FIBA Qualifiers – one that ended India’s three decade long drought of wins in a major FIBA tournament.
This article on in.NBA.com captures his career so far.
Interview with Muin Bek
What challenges did you face, in getting to where you are today?
The biggest challenge was convincing my parents to let me play. They never supported me back then as no-one from our family or around, was into sports. So it was tough.
And to be honest, everyday brings in new challenges, but facing these challenges will only help us in getting to where we are today or where we would want to be.
What drives you to get up in the morning and go training every day?
The craziness for the game. I believe that, missing out training a day will take away a step that will get me closer to my goal.
Also, I have always wished to impact someone’s life in a good way, someone to look up to me and learn the positive things. And this drives me to even let go off my early morning sleep.
What is important to you? ( apart from sports what else do you do, and believe in ? It’s good for people reading this to know that there are other interests too aside from sports)
My family. Apart from sports, I only believe in the love and support of my family because I know whatever happens, they are the only people I could go back to at the end of the day.
I do have other interests too, I love adventure, travelling. During off season, I make sure to give time to reasons that make me happy.
How does being an athlete make you a better person?
The qualities I’ve learnt from sports, as an athlete, makes me a better person.
Sports is like a roller coaster ride, with lots of ups and downs, new situations, new challenges, new atmosphere. It is completely unpredictable. So, it teaches us to be prepared for any situation, be it the wins or defeats, we learn how to be disciplined, responsible, punctual, respect everyone around us, whether older or younger, being selfless. And being an athlete, I’ve experienced these qualities, which has only made me a better person.
One word that describes you?
What do you give up to play sports?
Family time. After literally 8 years, I am spending this lengthy time at home. Since I shifted to a sports hostel, I would hardly get time to go home. And whenever I could, which was rare, would only be for occassions.
So yes, family time is something I give up or gave up to play.
What mental tool do you use under pressure?
I talk to myself.
What is your mantra?
When I decide to achieve something, I give my 100%. I do not back off expecting the result, rather enjoy it and trust my instincts. I believe hardwork is a must to reach the goal. Yes I will have to face challenges each day, reaching the goal might take time, but that goal is a sure shot.
If you could play another sport, what would it be ?
Football or Badminton.
What expectations do you have of a coach?
A coach is someone who makes us understand and accept our potential. Someone who makes us love the sport and to do better than before, hence making us a better player. We completely depend and trust on him/her and so he/she becomes a guide who understands us as a person too.
At what age did you know that you wanted to become a professional basketball player?
Around 17, when I moved to a sports hostel, I knew I had to make it big in this game.
What do you do to calm your butterflies when you compete?
I take a deep breath and count 1-10. This works on calming my butterflies!
What coaches, teacher or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how?
My college (Jeppiar Institute of Technology, Tamilnadu) director – Marie Wilson, from the time I’ve known him, he has always been a big support, a father figure to whom I could go to whenever I needed him. He is always around.
And my first basketball coach – Manimozhi Sir, he is the reason I have fallen in love with this game and reached where I am today. Also, he is the one to introduce me to my college director.
What one word or phrase do you want people to associate with your name?
A good person, probably. Actually nothing specific, because it depends from person to person, how someone sees me, and accordingly would want to associate or associates an word or phrase with my name.
What kind of philanthropic work are you involved in, if any?
I do not know if we can call this philanthropic work because this is something I have been doing as a kid. Every Friday I make sure I help someone new with whatever they need, any necessity, in whatever way I can. And I believe in the goodness and welfare of the people around us, the more we make ourselves available for others, the more we are happy from within.
What’s on your iPod right now? (What music genres and which artists do you enjoy listening to before a match?)
I enjoy Hip-hop and Pop.Eminem and Drake are my current favourites
Why do you think everyone should play a sport?
Like I said, the qualities that sports teaches us, makes us better persons in reality too. And also, being fit physically and mentally, and being healthy is really important, sports is the fun way to achieve these.
Plus it makes us socialize more, meet new people, explore new places, new atmosphere, so yes, sports is exciting!
So one should not miss a chance of trying it atleast!!
Which sport would you not let your child play? Why?
I guess I will leave that to my child, to decide the sport he/she would want or not want to play.
What do you do to keep fit ? Nutrition?
Since the lockdown, I am into cycling, home workouts, playing badminton, swimming.
Nutrition, I usually follow a specified diet for my game but now that I am home after long, I am enjoying homemade food but yes I try to maintain the required nutrition too.
How do you incorporate mindfulness practices into sports?
I make sure I give enough rest to my body and mind, talk to myself and more to people who spread positive vibes, and at times I do meditate and give myself time.