Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the youth of India to pursue basketball after the country hosted the first ever National Basketball Association (NBA) Games in Mumbai on Friday.
NBA teams Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers will play two pre-season games in front of students under the Reliance Foundation Jr NBA Programme. The first match held at the NSCI Dome in Worli, Mumbai lived up to expectations with Indiana Pacers edging past Sacramento Kings 132-131 in a thrilling contest in a full house arena which witnessed some breath-taking basketball on display.
“Yesterday was a historic day for sports in India and India-USA relations. Mumbai hosted the first ever @NBA match played in India. The game between @Pacers and @SacramentoKings was a treat for sports lovers. Congratulations to both teams for a riveting contest. #NBAIndiaGames,” PM Modi tweeted on Friday.
Ahead of the second game at the same venue in Mumbai, he wrote: “ Basketball is very popular among our youth. The @NBA matches set the stage, or rather set the court for greater linkages in sports. I hope more youngsters pursue basketball and also contribute to the Fit India Movement. #NBAIndiaGames.”
The Kings will look to avenge their early trounce at the hands of the Pacers on Friday.
The two-day contest has been actually the driving force by Sacramento Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive, who wants a cricket crazy India to recognise basketball.