The elite training center, located at Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex in Delhi National Capital Region, will train top male and female scholarship players selected through a countrywide search with NBA-level coaching. India, which has more than 1.3 billion people, has the potential to be “the next China for the NBA,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told ESPN.
The NBA Academy, a league-funded residential program that provides prospects with training and school, hopes to add to that list even though basketball is a relatively new sport in India. “Look, clearly cricket is the No. 1 sport here in India,” said Tatum, who attended the academy’s opening with NBA India Managing Director Yannick Colaco. “So, the cultural challenge is that growing up, basketball wasn’t necessarily taught and played at the youth level. But we are actually investing a ton into making sure that more kids are being given the opportunity to play basketball, particularly in school.”
“I think we’re probably a couple years away, but not five years away,” Ranadive told ESPN at the site of this weekend’s All-Star Game. “There are facilities that could work. We just have to get them to an NBA level. I fully expect that in the next two or three years, we will be able to do that.”
Ranadive envisions the Kings playing a game at Indira Gandhi Arena in Delhi, holding an open outdoor practice in front of the Taj Mahal, putting on youth clinics and participating in a sports, music and cultural festival in Mumbai. Additionally, he said staging another international game on the same trip is a possibility, mentioning Dubai as a host candidate.