Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju hailed the NBA India Games as a 'historic day for sports' as he presented the match ball in the second contest between the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings in Mumbai on Saturday. Along with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Kiren Rijiju presented the ball at the beginning of the game, kick-starting the final game of the pre-season. Talking to the media, Kiren Rijiju said that it was great for the NBA to come to India as it has wide popularity and the sport is extremely famous in India. Kiren Rijiju vowed to develop better infrastructure for basketball in the country and said that the government will try hard to make the game better in India.
A historic day for sports in India as Mumbai hosted the first ever @NBA in India. Happy to be present with the head of NBA Mr Adam Silver. The match between @Pacers & @SacramentoKings gave a perfect #NBAIndiaGames pic.twitter.com/KyemWe19HA— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) October 5, 2019
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. The PM Modi also said that he hopes more youngsters contribute to the Fit India Movement through the sport. 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.
The NBA along with the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings are partnering with the American India Foundation to support 5 under-resourced municipal schools in Mumbai. The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé, Indiana Pacers Governor Herb Simon and NBA Legend Vlade Divac attended the ground-breaking ceremony of the Legacy project at the BMC Marathi School located at Lower Parel on Saturday. This will help the schools get technological equipment, trained teachers, a basketball court and enhanced infrastructure. Furthermore, Ranadivé surprised the students by beginning his address in Marathi. He revealed his Maharashtrian roots and praised the intellect of the students.