When The NBA Came to India



Image source-in.nba.com


After a long-awaited wait, the very first NBA game took place on Indian soil between the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings at the Dome, NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai. Back in 2017, the NBA opened the NBA Academy in Delhi to recruit and train the top talents throughout the country. Kevin Durant also visited the academy soon after its opening. Now, 2 years later we have 2 preseason games being held in India. The hype started buzzing a few months ago when rumours spread about basketball games being held in Mumbai started floating about. The recent match was an epic conclusion to the excitement building for almost the past year and a half.
The buildup to the NBA India
Since 2006, 36 NBA players have visited India and in 2011, the NBA opened its office in Mumbai. This was followed by the Academy in 2017 and the inauguration of the NBA India Games in 2019. Evidently, the NBA has waited for a long time to make its way into India. Similarly, many fans and celebs around the country have been waiting and trying to get the NBA to India.
Listening to the Pre-game press conference by the League Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA is not yet done. Before the Jump ball of the very first NBA match in India, Silver confirmed for sure that the NBA will be looking to launch a Basketball league in India. Some potential partners revealed were the Reliance Foundation and SONY TEN. Moreover, Silver is also optimistic that in the next 5 years will see an Indian player play in the NBA.
Moreover, Silver also promised that more NBA teams would be visiting India soon. Which teams and when is yet to be confirmed, but basketball fans all over the country are already charged up and ready to see their favourite teams play live. Aspiring players over the country will also get to join the NBA Academy as the NBA hopes to open more academies across the country to nurture and cultivate talent across the country. 
Sacramento Kings VS Indiana Pacers
The reason The Kings, in particular, played the first-ever NBA match on Indian soil is that the current co-owner and chairman are Vivek Ranadive, who has played a major role in bringing the NBA to India. And we must thank him for the edge of the seat match we got to see life as a result of his efforts. The game was as fast-paced and energetic as we’ve come to expect from all NBA matches. 
The Sacramento kings maintained a decent lead for most of the first 2 quarters although the Indiana Pacers kept fighting back and were unwilling to give up ground without a fight. The third quarter saw a major reversal by the Pacers led by TJ Warren although, Billy Heide of the Kings lead an impressive counterattack. Now Warren, who is a recent addition to the team, decided to step up and change the game as the Pacers did not have their usual leaders in the injured Victor Oladipo and his replacement Bojan Bogdanvic. 
Warren proved his reliability to score a game-high of 30 points of which 11 came in the turn-around third Quarter.  Warren also managed to score 6 more in the last quarter and push the game into Overtime. It is at this point Warren truly let loose and scored 7 more points in a seemingly unbeatable run that put the Indiana Pacers through to victory. It is more than evident that it will be Warren who will be filling in for Oladipo while he is injured for this season, although when he returns, it will be very interesting to see these two players take on other teams. 
The entire night was a true spectacle of watching two teams duking it out on the court almost dancing around the court as they dazzled the audience with their skill, energy and passion. It was a nail-biting adventure that had eyes not just of the new spectators in Mumbai but also basketball fans around the country. Saturday night will see the second NBA match take place between the 2 teams again as they face off again to settle scores for the season. So tune in to Sony Ten and don’t miss this event. This may be the first of many a weekend where you get to enjoy the fun of NBA live in action.
The audience on Saturday
The match on Saturday caught the attention of the film fraternity, the likes of Priyanka and Parineeti Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Richa Chadda and many more big names caught the action in the stadium. Apart from being a treat for all the NBA fans out there, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) first-ever match in the country as a historic moment for the Indo-U.S. relations. He went on to say that basketball matches set the stage, or rather set the court for greater linkages in sports.
Finally, the ball is in the Indian court hoping to set new standards in sports entertainment and nurture capable Indian players who shall soon play in the NBA.


- Written by Nachiket Bhushan Kondhalkar
- Edited by Maitreyi Mehndiratta


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When The NBA Came to India When The NBA Came to India Reviewed by EMN on October 08, 2019 Rating: 5

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