Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


NBA considering launching basketball league in India within five years

NBA considering launching basketball league in India within five years

Sarah Waris

Published: 5 Oct 2019 6:47 AM GMT

Five years after NBA first entered Indian shores, two top teams from the league, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers — geared up to face each other in two preseason games in Mumbai on Friday and Saturday. It was the first time that teams from a North America sports league were playing in India.


Despite cricket being the nation's number one sport, a number of other games have tried to break through into the Indian sporting culture in recent years. A new professional soccer league was formed in 2013 along with a field hockey league the same year. Since then, kabaddi, badminton and tennis have all followed suit, with even basketball establishing India's first league in 2015.

Now, the NBA is hoping to cash in on the massive market, and if the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is to be believed, India can have its very own NBA league in the near future.

We've seen enormous progress in India just in the last five years. One of the things we've been discussing recently ― and I know this is something else my friend Vivek (Ranadive, owner of the Sacramento Kings) is pushing me on ― is the ability to launch a league here in India.

"As I've said, we have wonderful partners in the Reliance Foundation, with SONY TEN, our broadcaster, and some of our other top-notch corporate relationships here. That is something (we’re working on) in these days while we're here. We're holding meetings on this and openly having discussions. I will say that I'm not sure five years ago that was something that was even possible."

So I think our two most immediate goals in India for the NBA are, one, to see the development of some top-tier talent coming out of India and making it to the NBA and WNBA. And, two, serious consideration of the launch of a league!” Silver added.

Vivek Ranadive, who convinced the league to host its first-ever NBA India Games in the country, said:

What I see happening is that within the next 10 years, this game ― while it'll never surpass cricket as the national pastime ― but it'll be right up there. And hopefully, we can launch a league right here in India. I hope in the next 10 years that we'll have at least one player that comes out of the system that plays in the NBA. We already see players. And I fully expect that there will be arenas that spring up across the country where we can play these games.

When asked at the timeline for the league in India, Silver went on to add, “In terms of timing on the league, as I said, it's something we're giving serious consideration to right now. I actually announced earlier today, it's my hope that within five years we have an Indian player in the NBA. And I think for serious consideration of a league, I'd use that same timing. It's something we would hope to do within the next five years.”

He also stated that the NBA had to play a bigger role in the tapping of the basketball talent in India, and was in direct touch with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) about starting the league.

The NBA games in India is an effort to expand the league beyond North America and to have a more worldwide presence. They have been hosting regular events in China, Japan and England in the past, called the NBA Global Games.

Next Story