NEW DELHI – In an interview with Reuters last Tuesday during the launch of the NBA’s first academy in India, top NBA Official Mark Tatum shared that it is high time for the NBA to penetrate and grow in India.
The NBA Deputy Commissioner said that India is very ready to embrace a different game like basketball and it’s one of the good alternative sports to the popular cricket.
The first NBA academy in India was established in the city of Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The best basketball training facility at Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex will be the training ground of the first batch of NBA Academy India scholars composed of twenty-one best male prospects.
This is the fifth NBA Academy that was launched in Asia and Tatum said that India is a ripe country to raise another basketball superstar for the NBA. The last Indian basketball player who was drafted in NBA was Satnam Singh Bhamara, but his career did not fire up, and he moved to another league which is Texas Legends.
The popularity of NBA in India has rapidly grown due to different partnerships made by the basketball association to several private sectors. Tatum mentioned that there is a current partnership to air 350 games live on the Sony Six platform.Localized content is also published on an India website. In addition, there are also grassroots development programs which already produced about 5000 trained coaches and reached 6 million kids.
The digital platforms such as various social media applications also helped in promoting the sports in India. In fact, there are seven million Facebook fans in India who can access and watch the NBA games live.
Tatum also answered the question on why they chose Asian neighbors, and he reiterated that there are 113 NBA players from different countries and no name from India has marked yet. He added that they saw a lot of opportunity in bringing the NBA culture and style to this specific market, and utilizing the potentials of the youth at the same time.