NBA India Games 2019 - Will NBA change the face of basketball in India?

The NBA opened its first office in India in 2011.Though they are late entrants in cricket frenzy nation NBA is the first overseas league to have enough investment in India. NBA’s partnership with India’s Reliance Foundation has trained over 1 crore children under the junior NBA programs since years. .

Sporting scenario in India has seen a major change over the last few years. The advent of the Indian Premier League, Pro-Kabaddi League, Pro-Badminton League and the Indian Super League has increased competition for basketball in the country. The NBA, however, was unfazed but now the things can be changed.

The league has an academy and a school: a tuition-based development program — in our country already, with plans to add more. The NBA now is in full-swing in India. Whether they manage a slam-dunk or face a block, only time will tell. It certainly is a good news for basketball enthusiasts across the country. Will the National Basketball Association find its new Yao Ming from India?


I don’t see any reason for not expecting the next India’s Yao Ming - Satnam Singh, the first Indian player to be drafted into the NBA league when the Dallas Mavericks elected him with the 52nd overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft.

Another Indian, Amjyot Singh who has played in the N.B.A.’s minor-league system.

Princepal Singh, an 18-year-old is now considered India’s top N.B.A. prospect. Princepal is currently undergoing a 2 year program in the NBA Global Academy at the Australian Institute of Sport, a 2 year program. Singh is training at world-class facilities and with talent from countries such as Nigeria, South Korea, China, and Egypt.

Amongst women basketball talent, Chennai-born 19 year old Srishti Suren became the first Indian woman to play college high level basketball chosen for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen for the 2019-20 season.

China has seen an exponential growth of the sport since Yao’s first NBA game in 2002 when more than 200 million Chinese watched that game. Basketball is now one of the most popular sports in China and the NBA operations there are valued at more than $4 billion.

With the Singh trio and Srishti Suren leaving a mark in US and Canada basketball leagues, I am not surprised to see NBA League pursuing Indian market not just to tap talent but who also see a huge potential commercial market.
During the two day pre-season games in Mumbai (Oct 4 & 5), NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Sacramento Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive hinted towards their goal of launching a league in India along the same lines as Basketball Africa League (BAL) launched in Africa being played from spring of 2020.

This NBA initiative in turn is good to hone Indian talent who will get an opportunity to play on world class facilities and be trained by International level coaches. Widespread Indian basketball culture is a pre-requisite to create more superstars from India and these efforts by NBA seem to be in the right direction.


Basketball is a fast paced, non-stop action game. It will be great to see this sport gain popularity in India.

Mumbai hosted the first ever NBA games. Pacers won both the games.

Sacramento Kings vs Indiana Pacers in an overtime thriller on Oct 4th.
Indiana Pacers 132 - 131 Sacramento Kings

2nd game on Oct 5th - Pacers 130 - 106 Kings


It is a great initiative and a historic moment for India to host the NBA. Basketball has been a sport that has been neglected from a long time. While only a handful of players like Satnam Singh and Amjyot Singh have tasted the international level professional basketball this event will draw more attention to the sport in a long run. Reliance foundation is doing its bit to carry forward the game to the highest level in India, but India being a cricket frenzy country will atleast take 10 years to produce someone like Yao Ming.


Good overall round up of current talents. Let’s see how many of them can make to NBA.

We already have established Cricket Roster. We then have Football, Kabaddi and Hockey leagues. European leagues are also vying for Indian eyeballs. Then we have Periodic international events in Football, Tennis, Asiads, Olympics, CWGs etc.

So, it will be very tough for NBA to get some traction in India.


@Yogesh : Satnam Singh was picked in the 2015 NBA draft for Dallas Mavericks. So, we do have an Indian player who has played in NBA.

NBA being a high-speed game is not only an amazing game to play but is a great sport to watch where a point is scored every few seconds and for many games there is no sure win until the last second. Football is now modeled after European football leagues. Similarly modeling basketball to NBA is the best way to popularize this sport.

There is a huge sports viewership in India. It sure is not a short term vision to get to the standards of popularizing this game and being able to play on international level. It will depend on how successful the NBA and basketball associations in India are in channelizing their effort to increase the popularity of the game. At the same time, it will also be crucial to see how receptive are the cricket frenzy fans towards other sports and willing to explore these fun high-octane games.


Promising basketball player Princepal Singh makes it to the NBA G-League!

NBA Academy graduate from India Princepal Singh, who stands tall six feet and 10 inches from Punjab, has signed in its ‘G’ League next season.

The forward from Punjab, Princepal Singh is the first NBA Academy graduate to sign with the NBA G League and first NBA Academy India graduate to sign a professional contract.

In 2018, Princepal also played for the Indian U-18 team in the FIBA U-16 Championships where he averaged 22.17 points and 13 rebounds. The same year saw him captaining India at the FIBA U-18 Asian Championships where he averaged 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds. In 2018, the youngster was also one of 25 NBA Global Academy prospects who took part in a winter showcase in Las Vegas, attended by top scouts and executives. Leading Punjab to the U-19 title last year, Princepal debuted for the senior Indian team at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers earlier this year.


:basketball_man: Good luck Princepal Singh! G League is first step to achieve ultimate goal – NBA. :raised_hands: :basketball: