Mumbai, Jan 24 (PTI) The historic and first-ever pre- season games of the widely followed National Basketball Association (NBA), involving Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, in Mumbai later this year will create a huge impact, feels former NBA star Rashard Lewis.Also Read - India vs England Highlights T20 World Cup Warm-Up Match: Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul Guide India to a 6-Wicket Victory Over England

“I am expecting it to create a major impact. First games played here in India between 2 young teams Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings, two very good teams for the future. Also Read - SAFF Championship 2021 Match Highlights India vs Bangladesh Match 3 Today Football Updates: 10-Man Bangladesh Earn a Hard-Fought 1-1 Draw Over India

“I expect the kids and the fans to come out and support them, said the 6-foot 10-inch former forward during an interaction with the media here on Thursday. I think they will have a lot of fun and learn a lot of things. Also Read - Actor Ranveer Singh Named NBA Brand Ambassador For India

“A lot of camps and clinics will also be conducted by both the teams when they are in town,” added Lewis, who won the NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2013.

The two pre-season games, announced in December last by the NBA, are scheduled on October 4 and 5 at the indoor stadium of the National Sports Club of India in Worli here.

Asked whether a professional basketball league, in the wake of successful other sports leagues like IPL, ISL and PKL, is the way to go forward, Lewis said that certainly was the way to promote the game.

“Yes, it will help grow the sport tremendously. Just like the other countries have leagues that they relate to the NBA as well.

“There are a lot of different leagues that are played around the world. I think if they help create a league here it can help the sport grow.

“And they can have their own league just like NBA.

China has its own league,” he noted.

Lewis, who twice made it to the NBA All-Stars in his playing days, is on a four-day visit to the city to promote the game before leaving for Bengaluru.

He was of the opinion that the hoop game was picking up in the country.

“Yes, I feel the sport is picking up here in India and is moving in the right direction.

“Not only for basketball reasons but for educational reasons as well – to teach them how to play the game in the right way – and I think the more we can reach out to the youth and the community, the more it can grow,” he explained.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.