NBA commissioner Adam Silver mulls league in India, but facilities lacking

Los Angeles Clippers' head coach Doc Rivers left and Houston Rockets' head coach Mike D'Antoni talk on the sidelines during the second quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game Thursday Oct 3 2019 in Honolulu. (AP

But far away here at the NSCI Dome, a vociferous group of over 3,000 kids from the Reliance Foundation watched with rapt attention the historic first ever National Basketball Association game in India between Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, welcoming the sport in the country with open arms and promising to take to it in the years to come.

Furthermore, Sacramento Kings proprietor Vivek Ranadive has had talks with Silver in regards to the formation of a 12-team league in India that might observe within the footsteps of Basketball Africa League, which is able to start its inaugural season in March 2020.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he's giving "serious consideration" to starting a professional basketball league in India, perhaps in the next five years. The groups are in India to play two pre-season video games on Friday and Saturday.

The high-profile basketball league made its eagerly awaited India debut on Friday with Indiana Pacers edging past Sacramento Kings 132-131 in a thrilling contest in Mumbai. "Promoting education and sports in children is my mission and I hope to see India on the global sports pinnacle", she said.

Basketball can become as popular in India as it is in neighbouring China and bringing pre-season games to Mumbai can prove a timely catalyst, a top NBA executive has told Reuters. She has played a number of worldwide tournaments including big-ticket events such as the Asian Championship, Commonwealth Games 2006 and Asian Games 2010.

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"Yesterday was a historic day for sports in India and India-USA relations".

As part of the celebration, Reliance Foundation invited children from its Junior NBA program to get the rare opportunity to watch the first game live at the NSCI, Dome on 4th October. "I would like to thank the NBA in believing in Indian basketball and for being a great partner on this incredible journey". They have really helped nurture the sport in India with their Jr.

This initiative is known as the world's largest Junior NBA program, with a reach of 11 million children from 34 cities in 20 states. They have become regular fixtures in England, China and Japan and are called the NBA Global Games.

Asked if the NBA's future plans for India also included more teams playing more games in the future, Silver replied in the affirmative, but said India needs more arena infrastructure for that to happen.

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