Ahead of India debut, NBA to tip-off grassroots community events in Mumbai

NBA, NBA India Games 2019, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Howdy Modi, grassroots community events, Reliance Foundation,
Ahead of the debut, the NBA will begin a series of grassroots community, youth basketball and elite development events and programmes set to impact thousands of young people, teachers, coaches and families across Mumbai. Illustration: Prathap Ravishankar

US President Donald Trump asked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi if he was invited for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) 2019 India Games which is set to make its debut in the country on October 4 and 5 during the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas.

Trump said NBA will be America’s best exports to India.

“Very soon, India will have access to another world-class American product- NBA basketball. Wow, sounds good. Next week, thousands of people will gather in Mumbai to watch the first-ever, NBA basketball game in India,” Trump added.

Ahead of the debut, the NBA will begin a series of grassroots community, youth basketball and elite development events and programmes set to impact thousands of young people, teachers, coaches and families across Mumbai.

The news comes in lieu of matches played between the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers in Worli, Mumbai.

Throughout the week, NBA Cares, Jr. NBA, Her Time to Play and NBA Academy programming will feature basketball clinics, community impact projects, and special events.

The proposed programmes are designed to encourage physical fitness, inspire play, empower women and girls and create sustainable, technology-equipped spaces to support STEM education for kids of all ages, a media release said.

Also read: Am I invited: Trump asks Modi on NBA’s India debut in October

Along with this, the NBA, Pacers and Kings will support five under-resourced municipal schools in and around Mumbai, including Sitaram Mill Compound BMC Marathi School, where league and team executives and former NBA players will break ground on a new basketball court on October 5.

Before the start of games, the NBA will try to continue and expand on several such initiatives such as partnering with American India Foundation (AIF) on a joint ‘Legacy project’.

The project will transform the educational experience of hundreds of Mumbai’s most under-served students for years to come.

Students and teachers will have access to new smart classrooms, STEM Resource Centres and a robotics lab outfitted with new technology, digital STEM curriculum and training, and improved infrastructure for school facilities, as well as the newly-constructed basketball court.

Additionally, Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA programmes will be launched at each school for both boys and girls, it said.

“Our mission is to use basketball as a platform for good and we are thrilled to partner with the American India Foundation to invest in the education and growth, both physically and mentally, of youth in India,” said Kings Chairman, CEO and Governor Vivek Ranadiv.

“We are excited to partner with the American India Foundation to support the health, wellness and education of under-served youth in Mumbai,” said Pacers Chairman, CEO and Governor Herb Simon.

(With inputs from agencies)

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