One great thing about the NBA is its diversity, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. This past June, it was the only men’s professional sports league to get an “A” for race and gender by the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. There are great players from all over the world, such as Dirk Nowitzki, Nenê, Pau Gasol and others. The best part? Despite their backgrounds, they all still hate NBA refs! It really is a small world after all!
One country that hasn’t been represented very well in the NBA (and basically all of the four pro sports leagues), however, is the good land of India. The NBA is trying to do their part to change that.
This season, the league will play its first regular-season games in Europe, a two-game matchup in March between the Nets and the Toronto Raptors in London. And having conquered China, the N.B.A. has its sights fixed on Asia’s other big emerging market: India.
Like China, India has a rapidly expanding middle class with newfound leisure time and disposable income, factors that Heidi Ueberroth, the president of N.B.A. International, says make the country ripe for new forms of entertainment.
“There is a growing appetite for sports and entertainment and more options in India,” she said.
In a nation where cricket is an obsession, other sports have struggled to find an audience. Cricket’s popularity has been reinforced by the Indian Premier League, which began in 2008. I.P.L. teams play Twenty20, a faster-paced game that has attracted younger fans and billions of dollars in corporate sponsorship.
But in part because the I.P.L. has proved that city-based sports franchises can succeed in India, many sports are betting that they will be able to find new fans and corporate backers here.
The article goes on to talk about how the NBA wouldn’t just be looking to get an audience there but actually look for talent to develop out of the billion-plus people who live there and get them on the road to the NBA.
Out of curiosity, I searched online to see if there has ever been an Indian NBA player. Raja Bell sounds sort of Indian, but alas, he’s from the Virgin Islands, and I realized how judgmental I was. I finally got to Yahoo Answers, which has never led me astray, and from C.L ~Raptors~ I got my answer: “Nope… lol.”
This cannot stand! This must change! We don’t want a Stephen Curry; we want a swingman who loves curry! We don’t need more Kevins and Tyrekes; we want more Anups and Sadiqs! We need a Gibran Hamdan of basketball, except one that isn’t really crappy! I call on you, Indians, to put down your cricket bats, lace up some crappy sneakers, grab a basketball and start practicing layups and boxing out until your aṇḍakōṣa feel like they’re going to fall off! You’ve got Bollywood, let’s get BASKETBollywood! Yes, I know that last sentence, and probably half of this post, didn’t make sense!