Mumbai: National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday said they are evaluating an option to set up an Indian basketball league and expressed hope that the country can produce some great hoopsters.
"An Indian league is something we continue to look at. I don't think that is inconsistent with the NBA being played in US and Canada, followed here at the same time.
Taking in account the time zone differences and the interest in seeing your fellow countrymen on court, we have spent a lot of time studying what we could do in terms of
some type of property here, whether it's a tournament, whether it's a league, how many teams, what the right point is that we should look to starting it is something still under discussion," Silver told reporters here.
With an increasing number of foreign players making it to the top in the professional basketball league, Silver said India too can produce some great hoopsters.
"As more young people are playing basketball, it is just a numbers game. This country will inevitably produce some great players. What we are looking at is what products can we develop which can be indigenous to India. Is it a similar game to what we play in US. Is it a shorter game, or a shorter season, something that looks more like a tournament, those are the things we are going to continue to look at," he said.
Silver said India is the next frontier for the NBA as the sport has been growing rapidly in the country.
"India is the next frontier for the NBA. You have an extraordinarily young population, and they tend to develop an interest of their own. While their parents may have been cricket fan, what we have seen is that the youth love basketball. We are working together with Reliance Foundation on initial phase of the programme to introduce the game and reach 1 million boys and girls and that was a three year plan. We have already in a sense reached that number in two years.
"We are seeing this game grow quickly. Now that we have an Indian club owner (Vivek Ranadive the owner of Sacramento Kings) in the NBA is only going to accelerate the growth," he said. Ranadive expects basketball to be the second most popular sport in India in the next 10 years.
"Basketball will be the biggest sport of the 21 st century. It doesn't need a lot of place like cricket or soccer might. I believe it will catch on. It has already caught on in India. Cricket and soccer are more like post colonial sports. Kabbadi has taken off like a rocket and it was a pre-colonial sport. Basketball is a sport for future. It lends itself well to the Indian market. We expect in a decade it will be the second most popular sport in India," he said.
The NBA commissioner said they might have exhibition matches or a couple of NBA games in India in future as they try to develop the sport here.