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Major boost for Indian basketball as country likely to host preseason game in Mumbai

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Major boost for Indian basketball as country likely to host preseason game in Mumbai

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SportsCafe Desk

08/13/2018

In what could be a huge boost for basketball in India, the country might be in for hosting a pre-season NBA game in Mumbai next year, the league’s Commissioner Adam Silver has revealed. He also spoke about the talent showcased by Indian youngsters at the NBA Academy and Jr NBA World Championship.

Despite basketball being one of the fringe games in India, in terms of popularity and participation, there has been a wave of young talented players who have been training and playing the sport at several levels within the country. In order to promote the game and provide necessary infrastructure, NBA, in May 2017, had launched the NBA Academy, an elite basketball training center at Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex in Greater Noida.

The NBA academy chose particularly selected players and provided them with elite level training so that they could become capable of playing at higher levels such as the Jr NBA World championship. NBA’s initiative has been yielding desired results as 20 odd boys and girls from New Delhi and Bengaluru have represented India in the just-concluded Jr NBA World Championships. 

NBA commissioner, Adam Silver has been of the opninon that it could be a major boost for basketball in India if the country might host a pre-season NBA game in Mumbai next year. By the tremendous response at the NBA academy, and the brilliant performance showcased by Indian players at the Jr NBA World championship, he felt that India are capable enough to yield young talents and a pre-season game would lift spirits of basketball enthusiasts over here. 

“We had India represented here. We have an academy on the ground now. We are potentially looking to play a game in Mumbai, may be next year. It would be a pre-season game,” Silver told PTI on the sidelines of the Jr NBA World Championships.

The NBA chief said that the organization has been determined to break the barriers in India by collaborating with the Reliance Foundation.

“We are very focused on the Indian market. We have a great relationship with Reliance and Mukesh Ambani and he and his wife’s foundation. There is enormous amount of grass root basketball being played in India,” Silver said.

Silver was full of praise for the talent on show at the World Championships and also stated the event has been their endeavor to create future basketball stars.

“It’s hard to define. I would say it’s a fantastic first tour. We had 10000 participants from 70 countries which went through the process to be a part here. Just seeing the enthusiasm you can feel what it means to them. They have been here for a week, participated in community projects. They were taught life skills, how to deal with stress. I think this is just the beginning of what will turn out to be a great program. We see this as an opportunity at a global level to putting in infrastructure. For young players just the dream of coming to the United States, that too at Disney is incredible. We believe we really can do something special with this program.”

The NBA Commissioner termed the Jr NBA World Chamionships as a future investment for the organization.

“This is certainly not a business. I think for us it’s an investment in the game and in future league players. It’s an investment in teaching young people life skills and appreciation for what the NBA and WNBA stand for,” Silver concluded.

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