The NBA announced yesterday the debut of the NBA Global Games in India, in which the Kings and Pacers would play two preseason games on Oct. 4th and 5th in Mumbai. These games will mark the first time the NBA or any North American Sports League for that matter has played in the country.
Five years ago, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé became the first ever Indian majority owner in the NBA and he has long wanted to bring the NBA game to his birth nation. Vivek and the Kings released the following statement following the NBA’s announcement:
“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 fast-growing new frontier.”
India is a relatively untapped market for the NBA but the Kings have made strides in bringing the game there. Since Vivek took over the Kings, over 140 Kings games have been broadcast to India. The Kings also hold an annual Bollywood night and feature an alternate Kings logo with Hindi script on their alternate “global court”.
Basketball is gaining popularity all around the world, and Vivek has long sough to make it a “global” game. Bringing basketball to India is a good step towards that goal, and a fun treat for fans who might never get the chance to see NBA basketball in person otherwise.