The NBA courts India as its next big thing

 
Post new topic    LakersGround.net Forum Index -> General Basketball Discussion Reply to topic
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Basketball Fan
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Posts: 21364

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:19 am    Post subject: The NBA courts India as its next big thing

Quote:
NBA courts India as its next big thing
By MARK MAGNIER - Los Angeles Times
Bookmark and Share
Buzz up!
email this story to a friend E-Mail print story Print Reprint
Text Size:
email this story
close

Your message was sent successfully to the following addresses:
dbabu51@hotmail.com

BALLO KE, India Satnam Singh Bhamara stares down at his feet. At size 22, there's a lot to stare at.

The 14-year-old is already 7 feet tall and weighs 250 pounds. To say that he stands out from the other boys in this remote Punjab village, population 463, is like saying that Everest is a rather tall mountain.

After its runaway success in China, the NBA has turned its sights on India. But basketball is not terribly popular here; as one sportswriter says, "genetically, we're not inclined that way."

* http://www.latimes.com/

But what if you could find an Indian version of Yao Ming, the 7-foot-6-inch Houston Rocket center who jumpstarted the Chinese game? His signing led to lucrative broadcasting and sponsorship deals, skyrocketing apparel sales and millions more fans.

"The Yao Ming factor is crucial," said Ayaz Memon, a sports journalist.

From Ballo Ke, local scouts dispatched Satnam to a regional basketball academy where, over the last four years, he worked to develop skills to match his height, leading some to call him India's best young player. This month, the young giant will head to the IMG Basketball Academy in Florida, which is sponsored by a U.S. talent agency.

"If God keeps blessing us, one day he'll play on the Indian national team, even the basketball world cup," village elder Aatma Bhamara said, his unfamiliarity with the name "NBA" suggesting that the Americans have their work cut out for them. "He's putting our village on the map."

NBA officials say Satnam may or may not be the one, but they're determined to build a sport that was introduced to the country by missionaries in 1903, and today is played, enthusiastically if not always well, by a few million Indians (which may sound like a lot, but in a country with 1.2 billion people, it remains a niche activity).

They maintain that India, with its emerging middle class, rising disposable income and media-savvy youngsters, has the raw ingredients to take off as a basketball market.

"We see great opportunity in India," said Akash Jain, the league's director of international development for India. "Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough if you're lucky.... But our focus is long term."

Perseverance and a healthy budget - the NBA won't disclose its spending - will be indispensible in a country known for bureaucracy, poor infrastructure and a weak sporting culture apart from the national obsession, cricket. India won a single gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, whereas China, another developing country with an enormous population, snagged 51.

Most schools here lack sporting facilities, let alone basketball courts, with sports often viewed as an unwelcome distraction from studying.

Take Ushan, in neighboring Rajasthan state, one of India's 600,000 villages. At Ushan's one-room school, there's no toilet, no playground and no physical education teacher. Without a shower, students don't want to play sports in the heat and return to class sweaty. Most are poor and own only one set of clothes.

Girls face added cultural barriers. In those few areas boasting state basketball academies, parents balk at letting their daughters leave home to get physical training, fearing that it could ruin their marital prospects.

"It's a mind-set problem," said Teja Singh Dhariwal, head of the Punjab Basketball Assn.

The state-funded Ludhiana basketball academy, which Satnam attended, is among the best in the country. On a recent Saturday, potential recruits, several taller than 6 feet, did sprints, dribbling exercises, layups and defensive drills with reasonable skill.

To attract young prospects like Satnam, the academy advertises the sport: "Tall? Give basketball a try!" But most recruits are teenagers, a bit late to start playing if the aim is to play at top levels.

"You can teach them skills," said Sankaram Subramanian, head coach of the Ludhiana basketball academy, who honed his own game playing American U-2 pilots based in India during the 1950s. "But teaching them to think, to conceptualize, takes time."

The NBA has vowed to make basketball India's second-most-popular sport after cricket within four years, leapfrogging over soccer and field hockey.

"We're very sure it's a viable goal," said Harish Sharma, head of the Basketball Federation of India.

Last month, the NBA brought over Lakers forward Pau Gasol to lead clinics in Indian schools. It has also helped develop a community league, the Mahindra NBA Challenge, in three cities, with plans to add seven more. It is training coaches, has set up a website and last year built five showcase courts, hoping to persuade the government and private developers to build more.

"We are extremely focused on our global growth, but we are prioritizing India," said NBA marketing executive Heidi Ueberroth, Peter's daughter.

Doubters here have snickered at the system that created Yao, who was essentially bred for the game after Chinese sports officials urged his basketball player parents, China's tallest couple, to marry and create a "super" offspring. Later, he was taken from his parents and raised by coaches, then required, on joining the NBA, to give half his salary to the state.

"We're not likely to get a magic player like these Chinese freaks of nature," said Gulu Ezekiel, a cricket analyst. "It will only be popular among the Indian elites, a small percent with access to cable TV."

Supporters counter that average heights are increasing rapidly with better nutrition and that the game's simple equipment makes it ideal for the masses.

The NBA also has global buzz that could catch on quickly, they say. At the Ambience Mall in Gurgaon, near New Delhi, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard swayed his hips last month and did a couple of dunks at a portable court before a cheering crowd as pounding pop music blared.

All the while, the hunt continues for a superstar-in-the-making.

"If we find an Indian Yao Ming, I'll do a Bollywood dance," said Andrew Borman, director of the IMG Basketball Academy in Florida.

Subramanian, Satnam's former coach, said the boy has a shot at the NBA, although he lacks some of Yao's agility.

Back in Ballo Ke, Satnam stands beside his 5-foot-2-inch mother and 7-foot-2-inch father, who is immensely proud of his son, but rues his own fate.

"I wish someone had told me about basketball," said Balbir Singh Bhamara, who comes from a line of unusually tall people - his mother is 6 feet 9. "I could've gone to America too."

Satnam, the middle of three children (both siblings are average height), said basketball sure beats farming and he hopes he can make a career of it, although he'll follow his parents' advice. He has been able to watch a few NBA games on television, he said, and his favorite player is Kobe Bryant.

Despite being one of India's hottest prospects, he's still very much the naive village boy, coaches and sports officials said, and studying has never been his strong suit. He speaks minimal English and still makes the occasional 13-hour trip to New Delhi on dingy buses, where he has to sit on the wide back seat because it's the only one big enough for him.

"He comes back to get his dirty clothes washed," said his father, a bit stooped after years of manual labor, standing beside the family buffaloes. "And to drink huge amounts of local milk."

As Satnam walks around the 600-year-old village pointing out his primary school, the general store, the bus stop, he is soon shadowed by a parade of children, like a gigantic Pied Piper.

No one else in the village plays basketball, but the 7-footer hopes to change that.

"If I really make it big one day, my dream is to come back and build the village a court," he said. "Then hopefully more people will start playing, like me."



Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/09/14/1618170/nba-courts-india-as-its-next-big.html#ixzz0zVuxb800
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
bshaw20
Starting Rotation
Starting Rotation


Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 937
Location: COMC

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: The NBA courts India as its next big thing

Quote:
He has been able to watch a few NBA games on television, he said, and his favorite player is Kobe Bryant.


kid sold me on that quote
_________________
bkb cardboard collecting junkie
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Reply with quote
Kobetide
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 3354

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:51 pm    Post subject:

Project Bynum #2
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
danish87
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 1869

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject:

cricket is king there, but there are a billion ppl....
_________________
"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it." - Jack Handey
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
drzucchini
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 16326

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:57 pm    Post subject:

Kobetide wrote:
Project Bynum #2


There's a decent chance #1 will still be in development by the time #2 is developed.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Jacko
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 5159

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:31 pm    Post subject:

no offense, but Indians can't play any sports.....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Reply with quote
999
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 19621

PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject:

Jacko wrote:
no offense, but Indians can't play any sports.....


uhm.... offense taken.... im indian and i played sports my entire life you (bleep) douche


however i was born and raised here which makes me american but my rents are from india... and the reason they are not good at sports is becuase the education system is not as focused on athletics as it is here.

there sport is cricket, field hockey, wrestling, and boxing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
55
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 04 Jan 2008
Posts: 10937

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:42 am    Post subject:

drzucchini wrote:
Kobetide wrote:
Project Bynum #2


There's a decent chance #1 will still be in development by the time #2 is developed.


There's also a decent chance that #2 wont develop and will end up as the tallest employee ever at 7 11.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Jacko
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 25 Oct 2005
Posts: 5159

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:54 am    Post subject:

Lakers999 wrote:
Jacko wrote:
no offense, but Indians can't play any sports.....


uhm.... offense taken.... im indian and i played sports my entire life you (bleep) douche


however i was born and raised here which makes me american but my rents are from india... and the reason they are not good at sports is becuase the education system is not as focused on athletics as it is here.

there sport is cricket, field hockey, wrestling, and boxing


Indians are just not athletic, same as Asians. (i'm asian)

there are always exceptions, but very few.

i live in America, and there is a reason why Indians are usually the worst in sports during like gym classes.

but it's okay at least we know Indians are smart.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Reply with quote
Conker
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 09 Jun 2010
Posts: 12945
Location: MDC

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:11 am    Post subject:

Don't Indians play cricket and consider to be one of the best?

Anyway, if Indians are smart, then they'll contribute to sports science.
_________________
(❍ᴥ❍ʋ) ʕʘᴥʘʔ (⌐ ͡■ ͜ʖ ͡■) (┛◉Д◉)┛( ͡ ͜ʖ ͡) ༼;༎ຶ ۝ ༎ຶ༽


Last edited by Conker on Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
999
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 19621

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:25 pm    Post subject:

Jacko wrote:
Lakers999 wrote:
Jacko wrote:
no offense, but Indians can't play any sports.....


uhm.... offense taken.... im indian and i played sports my entire life you (bleep) douche


however i was born and raised here which makes me american but my rents are from india... and the reason they are not good at sports is becuase the education system is not as focused on athletics as it is here.

there sport is cricket, field hockey, wrestling, and boxing


Indians are just not athletic, same as Asians. (i'm asian)

there are always exceptions, but very few.

i live in America, and there is a reason why Indians are usually the worst in sports during like gym classes.

but it's okay at least we know Indians are smart.


ya you have a point we are not athletic.. I can agree with you on that...however I think eating meat here and drinking the milk here made my body athletic to play all kinds of sports when i was growing up
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
thestales1
Starting Rotation
Starting Rotation


Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 140

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:57 pm    Post subject:

can you say acromegaly?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Raijin
Star Player
Star Player


Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Posts: 6391

PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:23 pm    Post subject:

India and sports- see the number of Olympic teams they have . . .
_________________
"It was tough," Kobe Bryant said. "But when it got really tough for me, I just checked myself in."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Basketball Fan
Franchise Player
Franchise Player


Joined: 03 Feb 2004
Posts: 21364

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject:

I knew I created a thread about this in the past I wanted to put the Durant article in here but couldn't find it originally.

This is the same guy that's now on the Mavs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic    LakersGround.net Forum Index -> General Basketball Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Page 1 of 1
Jump to:  

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum






Graphics by uberzev
© 1995-2010 LakersGround.net. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Terms of Use.
LakersGround is an unofficial news source serving the fan community since 1995.
We are in no way associated with the Los Angeles Lakers or the National Basketball Association.


Powered by phpBB