NBA gears up for a slam dunk in Mumbai
To take their fanbase in India up a notch, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is bringing their traveling circus to Mumbai in the form of a Sacramento Kings vs Indiana Pacers doubleheader.
India’s biggest NBA fans will gather at the NSCI Stadium in Worli, Mumbai on the 4th and 5th of October for an experience quite unlike anything most of them will have ever experienced before. With an intent of popularising basketball in the country, NBA India Games are bringing two friendly pre-season matches to the city, to be played between the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers.
The first-ever #NBAIndiaGames are ready to take over India on October 4 & 5! Get ready for the action as it’s #NBAInMyBackyard
To book your tickets for 5th October, visit: https://t.co/yqtOzd6EFT@BookMyShow pic.twitter.com/EAbup3r2M4
— NBAIndia (@NBAIndia) September 23, 2019
As expected, Indian NBA fans have reacted extremely well to this initiative and the tickets sold out about as fast as the news spread. The two names are NBA’s top-tier teams that compete in the league every season. The Kings comprise of young players who are known for performing skillful moves and high jumping dunks to get people off their seat, while the Pacers have a slightly older side with more focus on basic offensive and defensive strategies.
The NBA aims at showing these two differing types of gameplay to their vast target group in India.
— NBAIndia (@NBAIndia) September 28, 2019
With all the buildup circulating around NBA and India, celebrities too didn’t fail to catch a ride on the bandwagon. Canadian rapper and hip-hop sensation Drake let his philanthropic side out to the world once again, just like we witnessed in his music video of God’s Plan. He lent his $180 Million Boeing 767-200ER plane to the Sacramento Kings to fly down to India for their game.
It’s not entirely philantrophic, for it stands as a huge opportunity for the rapper to connect further with his fan base in India, which is considerably large, to say the least.
Reality TV host and judge Rannvijay Singh has always been a basketball fan and follows the NBA very closely. The Sacramento Kings invited him over to their hometown to experience a game at their home court Golden1Center. The celebrity has always been a youth favourite in India and came back with an experience to pump the excitement of the NBA India Games even further.
Buckle up for a ride with @RannvijaySingha through the streets of SacTown!
The @SacramentoKings are coming to Mumbai for the #NBAIndiaGames on October 4 & 5.#VisitCalifornia @VisitCA pic.twitter.com/Aea0O76Zvp
— NBAIndia (@NBAIndia) September 30, 2019
WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR?
With basketball not exactly on the same wavelength of popularity among Indian fans as say cricket or even kabaddi, we would be remiss if we didn’t at least shed some light on who are the players to watch out for from each team.
Marvin Bagley III is one of the Kings’ best players and is excited to make a debut performance on the Indian courts. Ranked as 69th best among the 100 NBA players this season, the 20-year-old youngster surely possesses the capability to reach the top 10 soon.
Indiana Pacers have a slightly elder pool of players, but someone like 26-year-old Malcolm Brogdon is certainly ready to tear down the Sacramento Kings. He joined the Pacers this season after an impressive performance last season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The tickets range go from 4,500 INR all the way up to 85,000 INR, but it’s too late to buy either, for they’re all sold out. Whether the exhibition matches are able to make the NBA’s desired inroads into India’s sports-crazy populace remains to be seen, but for the country’s basketball fanbase, this is an event that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
Photo credit: Sony Ten