NBA Kings' Ranadive Hopes To Make Basketball A Household Word In Native India
NBA Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive predicts his team will "help make basketball a household word" in his native India, a nation of 1.2 billion people, according to a front-page piece by Stephen Magagnini of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The Kings’ season opener was shown live in India, and Ranadive said, “It was such a huge hit, now they’re asking us to broadcast 15 more games.” Ranadive said that cricket "will always be No. 1 in the hearts of Indian fans." But he said basketball "can become a strong No. 2." However, selling the Kings "isn’t going to be a slam-dunk, either on the subcontinent or among the Sacramento area’s 42,550 Indian American residents." Some Indian American fans said that they are taking a "wait-and-see approach: If the team starts winning, they will get interested." The Indian community -- both in the U.S. and India -- is a "potentially lucrative customer base for the NBA and the Kings." The Kings "recently launched a Hindi-language version of the team website." The team’s dancers also "performed in India this summer, and Ranadive has said he hopes to take the team to India soon for an exhibition game." Meanwhile, the NBA reports it has "conducted more than 500 grass-roots events throughout India" since '08. Ranadive's "vision of a global game -- 'NBA 3.0' -- combines technology, globalization and sports 'as an agent of good in local communities.'” After he "conquers India, he plans to help bring the game to Argentina" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/19).