OAKLAND, Calif. – Sporting his No. 30 Stephen Curry jersey, 11-year-old Bjarki Robertsson kept up the pace. He hopped on his right foot, then his left, joining in a drill as part of the Golden State Warriors' basketball camp.
Like the 3-point shooting star he so admires, Robertsson certainly connected from long distance. He participated far from the San Francisco Bay Area – playing along from his father's workplace, a small warehouse in Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik.
The hoops-loving preteen can attend camp and practice on his outdoor basket at home even with the seven-hour time difference.
“It's amazing,” he said after a 75-minute session last week.
“He's basically speechless,” added his mother, Maria.
“It's unbelievable,” Warriors camp director Jeff Addiego said.
Former college player VeAnne Navarro led one station of the virtual workout, coaching from more than 4,000 miles away in Oakland. Robertsson confidently held his place in the group, which was the bottom left corner of a large video screen.
Chalk it up to another adjustment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I love it, I love it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We've known for a long time how popular the NBA is and how popular basketball is, and I suppose that popularity is sort of running along the same path as figuring out life.”
“Now we've got a kid doing basketball camp on Zoom from Iceland. I think that's a really cool dynamic. I'm glad it worked out,” Kerr said.
Girls and boys 7-15 years old are taking part, and groups were kept small for the initial run-through of what will be at least six weeklong sessions. Each receives one 30-minute semi-private lesson with a coach.
“That's why we kept it intimate,” Addiego said. “If that elbow's not in, (the coach) can see it.”