We have plans to return to India for pre-season games, says NBA commissioner - Hindustan Times
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We have plans to return to India for pre-season games, says NBA commissioner

By, Abu Dhabi
Oct 06, 2022 10:20 PM IST

NBA held two international pre-season games at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai in October 2019, featuring Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings. It was the first and only time NBA held its international games in India.

National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday said that the American basketball league—one of the biggest sporting brands in the world—have plans to return to India. However, he did not specify a date.

National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver
National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver

NBA held two international pre-season games at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai in October 2019, featuring Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings. It was the first and only time NBA held its international games in India.

“We do have plans to come back to India. That (Covid-19) was one of the setbacks that occurred with the pandemic as you recall. It was right before the pandemic which affected the whole world,” said Silver, who has been NBA commissioner since February 2014.

“When we played those two games in Mumbai, it was an incredible experience with Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers coming in. Again, both teams really embraced the experience. Of course, we have Vivek Ranadive, one of the team owners, who was born in Mumbai. It (Mumbai games) was a really great experience but then everything was put on hold.”

Ranadive is an Indian American business executive who is the co-owner of Sacramento Kings and played an important role in getting NBA to India three years ago.

“With 30 teams, we can obviously be engaging fans pre-season in many different continents, many different cities. Mark Tatum is here, our deputy commissioner and chief operating officer. We have had discussions about returning to India as quickly as possible," said Silver, who succeeded David Stern as the fifth commissioner of the NBA.

“And again these games are special but it is just the moment and time really. What we are focused on is developing the game throughout India, working with the federation, FIBA (international basketball federation), more clinics, more academies, better distribution of our games—all to try to excite young boys and girls who want to play this great game.”

The 2022-23 NBA season will begin on October 18. The league is currently hosting two pre-season international games in Abu Dhabi with Atlanta Hawks taking on Milwaukee Bucks at the Etihad Arena here. It is one of four venues outside the United States to host the international pre-season games this season.

Tokyo saw reigning champions Golden State Warriors face Washington Wizards on September 30 while Toronto Raptors took on Utah Jazz on October 2 at Edmonton. Montreal will be the fourth and last venue to hold the international games with the Toronto Raptors taking on Boston Celtics on October 14.

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