Like many NBA players, Jordan Farmar of the Nets runs a summer basketball camp for kids. But at the "Hoop Farm," the fundamentals being taught extend beyond passing, shooting and dribbling. Farmar wants the kids to learn about the importance of nutritious meals and environmental awareness. This is the fourth summer of the four-day camp at UCLA, Farmar's alma mater.
ThePostGame: What makes your camp unique?
Jordan Farmar: I think just the methods overall, that we preach healthy living. We teach kids yoga. We really preach about taking care of the environment so we recycle everything and we make it a point of emphasis to the kids. Also just taking care of each other, being good teammates, friends, helping each other along the way, and using basketball as a vehicle to make all that happen.
It's a little different than the message of most basketball camps where you just play ball and people come at the end of the day to take pictures and sign autographs. I'm here the whole time with the kids. I interact with them all day long. We mix the older kids with the younger kids try to get them to work on their leadership skills. We use a lot of different techniques to try to preach the same message of healthy living, being good people, taking care of yourself and the environment.
TPG: What motivated you to be so health and environment conscious?
Farmar: It's just kind of who I am as a person. My first year in the league, I got introduced to yoga and loved it. My fiancée is a yoga instructor and a very holistic person, so it's in my everyday life. We share this planet with a lot of people; we’re going to pass it on to our kids and future generations. It's important to preach the right thing. When you're in a position of celebrity or status, if anyone looks up to you, it’s important to make sure the message that you preach is a good one.
TPG: What is your favorite part of camp?
Farmar: Just hanging out with the kids. I love children. They ask a million questions. We play all day long and just hang out. It's a camp at the end of the day. ... The kids have been into it and we've had a lot of positive feedback from kids and their parents. This is my fourth year doing it and we're just continuing to grow. I'm really happy with it and having a lot of fun with these kids.
TPG: There are rumors that you will consider playing in Israel if the NBA lockout continues. Are you interested in Israel?
Farmar: Yes, I've been to Israel a bunch of times, but never played there professionally. I've done camps like this out there with Israeli and Palestinian kids, using basketball as a way to bring them together.
TPG: Tell us about leaving a championship team with Lakers for the Nets, a team that won 12 games the previous season.
Farmar: It was an opportunity to do more, to grow as a player on the floor, and the only way to do that is to get on the court. The Lakers don't have a traditional point guard who runs the screen and roll and commands the team. They have more of a triangle system with Phil Jackson. It's quite different from every other team in the NBA. I had been there four years. My role had pretty much been the same, and it was time for me to grow. To get out somewhere and play a different style of basketball, show that I can lead a team and I can be that kind of point guard and it was a great opportunity for me. I started 35 games and had career highs in a number of categories, including minutes. I played a lot of big minutes in my career with the Lakers, playing in the playoffs and finals, but in terms of just running a team and it being my show when I was on the floor, this has been a big, growing experience for me.
TPG: What is your future with the Nets?
Farmar: I'm definitely enjoying it. I like the direction they’re headed. I like the owner and his commitment to doing whatever he can in his power to help us be successful. I think Billy King is a great general manager. I believe in his ability to build a team. It's all going to depend on when it comes time to negotiate, what the best opportunity is, but at the same time I'm very happy. I'm really excited about a lot of the aspects that Jersey has, especially my teammates and the move to Brooklyn.
TPG: What do you think of Coach Avery Johnson?
Farmar: I like playing for him. He was a tough-minded point guard and made it a long time in the NBA by being that way.
TPG: So you still live in LA even though you play for the Nets now?
Farmar: Absolutely. L.A.'s home.