National Basketball Association (NBA) will be bringing two of their teams - Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings to play in Mumbai on October 4 and 5 at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) in Mumbai. The initial announcement was made by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and NBA India Managing Director Yannick Colaco in Mumbai on December 2018. This will mark the first games the NBA has played in India and the first games staged in the country by a North American sports league.
On Thursday, NBA India announced that the games will be played in front of 3,000 boys and girls from more than 70 schools under the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program.
At the time of the announcement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, "Our inaugural NBA India Games will help further untap the enormous basketball potential in a country with a thriving sports culture and a growing, young and engaged population. We thank the Kings and Pacers organizations for participating in this historic event". Vivek Ranadive, Mumbai-born owner of Sacramento Kings, had said, "The Sacramento Kings are proud to be playing in the first NBA games ever held in India. As an Indian-American, it is an honor to help bring this historic moment to the country where I was raised. The sport is experiencing tremendous growth in India and we are excited about continuing to expand the NBA's reach to fans across the globe. The world wants to watch basketball and India is a fastgrowing new frontier."
NBA India has invested heavily in order to develop basketball in India, starting various grass root level campaigns in India. Alongside the two matches, the league e and its partners will conduct interactive fan activities, Jr. NBA youth basketball programming and NBA Cares community outreach events that will bring the NBA experience to fans in Mumbai. The global league has also opened an office in Mumbai in 2011 and an NBA India academy was opened in 2017 in New Delhi for bright prospects from throughout India. NBA India has helped multiple academy players to develop in the sport, with 17-year-old Riyanshu Negi being one of the hottest prospects. He has been a part of the academy since 2017 has worked with the coaches to develop his game.