Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the first-ever NBA match in India was a historic moment for India-US relations. The PM also said that basketball as a sport is very popular in India and appreciated the game between Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings.
Yesterday was a historic day for sports in India and India-USA relations. Mumbai hosted the first ever @NBA match played in India. The game between @Pacers and @SacramentoKings was a treat for sports lovers. Congratulations to both teams for a riveting contest. #NBAIndiaGames— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 5, 2019
The Prime Minister also said that he hopes more youngsters contribute to the Fit India Movement through the sport.
Basketball 🏀 is very popular among our youth. The @NBA matches set the stage, or rather set the court for greater linkages in sports. I hope more youngsters pursue basketball and also contribute to the Fit India Movement. #NBAIndiaGames— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 5, 2019
This was the first time that the game came to India. Two NBA teams, Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings faced each other in Mumbai on Friday. The Indiana Pacers won the inaugural game in a 132-131 face-off. This was also the first time that a North American team played in India. Nita Ambani, the chairperson of Reliance Foundation, presented the ceremonial ‘match ball’ to the NBA officials ahead of the game.
Earlier, speaking to Republic at the ground-breaking ceremony of the legacy project helmed by the National Basketball Association (NBA), Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadivé asserted that he is optimistic about the growth of Football in India.
At a press conference before the inaugural NBA game, Vivek Ranadivé said that he is looking forward to the expansion of the NBA in India. He also said that he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the growth of Basketball in India.
"I expect that there will be arenas across the country where we can play these NBA games. I've spoken to the Prime Minister about arenas and the importance of arenas and smart cities, cities of the future and I know that he is committed to that." "The game will be adapted faster than it was in other parts of the world," he further added.
(With ANI inputs)