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NBA weighs up league in India

Rajesh Sethi, managing director of NBA India. Image credit: NBA

The National Basketball Association is considering launching a professional basketball league in India, what would be its second overseas league after the Basketball Africa League which starts in March this year.

Rajesh Sethi, the managing director of NBA India, told Indian newspaper the Economic Times that the success of last year’s pre-season games in the country had encouraged the organisation to press ahead with examining the potential for launching a league in the next two or three years.

“The success of India games has triggered an inflection point for NBA in India,” he said. “While it has created a lot of buzz in India, it has also ticked many boxes for us. It has sent out a message internally that India is ready for the next leap. The games have also brought India on the radar of other teams and players.”

In October, NBA commissioner Adam Silver had said the organisation was considering launching a league in India in the next five years.

Sethi said: “We have worked on building an ecosystem for basketball in the country and a league will create a huge economic value for players too, who can then play in minor or major leagues.”

Sethi said NBA India has spoken to more than 25 companies interested in owning teams in the league. “We are yet to finalise on how many teams / franchises should be there. It could be anything between 8 and 12, but currently, it’s work in progress…We have also shortlisted 22 arenas.”