Rewiring Indian hoopsters for the NBA
What brings the NBA to India? Is it merely a social responsibility act of spreading basketball awareness in countries where the game isn’t as prominent as it is in the USA? Or do they see a commercial benefit in the largely untapped market in India? Or is it a mix of both?
The NBA (National Basketball Association) Training Academy at Jaypee Greens in Greater Noida isn’t like any other sports facility in India. In fact, the interiors remind you of a 5-star hotel -- a luxurious waiting lounge and a plush reception is what that meets the eye when one enters.
But looks can certainly be deceptive. There is a sudden mood change as you make your way to the indoor basketball court. The grind is well and truly on, with American coaches working tirelessly on young, tall Indian teenagers. The whole space is clouded with energy and motivation. And their common goal? To find an Indian ready for the NBA.
So what is it that brings the NBA to India? Is it merely a social responsibility act of spreading basketball awareness in countries where the game isn’t as prominent as it is in the USA? Or do they see a commercial benefit in the largely untapped market in India? Or is it a mix of both?
As per a New York Times report , only one-fourth of the league players are non-Americans, and NBA has stepped up their drive to find more talent from outside countries. Slovenian Luka Doncic’s second season in the NBA will be enough motivation for the franchises to look outside the local market for the next superstar.
There is also a consolidated effort within the NBA to increase its international revenue from 20% to 50% (of the overall revenue) within two decades. NBA has understood that to widen their profits it is important to identify and nurture basketball stars in various countries which explains the NBA’s decision to set up world-class training centres in India, Australia, Mexico, Senegal and China.
The likes of Satnam Singh and Amjyot Singh did reach the development league of the NBA but failed to make the final jump into a top-division franchise. So what is it that Indian players lack?
Is it because of the genes? Is it the lack of infrastructure or effective coaching? Or is it the lack of proper nutrition? We spoke to the Technical Director of the NBA Academy India, Scott Flemming, to know the reason and here’s what he had to say: