Over the past few years, as the NBA has continued to grow in popularity, one of its main missions has been spreading the game around the world. The league recently held the third edition of the NBA Africa Game in South Africa, an exhibition game that coincides with a week of service and basketball in the country. There's now the Jr. NBA World Championships, which feature youth teams from around the world going up against each other. Plus, there have been both preseason and regular-season games in countries all over the world -- including China, Mexico and England.
Now, the NBA apparently wants to add another country to that list: India. In addition to China, the league has held preseason and regular-season games in Japan, Taipei and the Philippines. But there's never been a game in India. Commissioner Adam Silver wants to change that. Speaking to the press at the Jr. NBA World Championships, which recently came to a close, Silver noted that he wants to play a preseason game in Mumbai. Via the Hindustan Times:
"We had India represented here. We have an academy on the ground now. We are potentially looking to play a game in Mumbai, may be next year. It would be a pre-season game," Silver told PTI on the sidelines of the Jr NBA World Championships.
"If we do a pre-season game, we can build time and our players and their families can spend time, learn about the country's culture," he said.
"We are very focused on the Indian market. We have a great relationship with Reliance and Mukesh Ambani and he and his wife's foundation. There is enormous amount of grass root basketball being played in India," Silver said.
The league has recently made India a focus of its global initiatives, opening an NBA Academy in the country just last year. Kevin Durant also made a much publicized trip to the country last summer.
It's not a surprise that the league would want to continue to expand it's influence in India. Not only can it continue its goal of growing the game, but India is one of the most populated countries in the world, which presents all sorts of new business opportunities.