Basketball in India

In India, basketball is a popular sport, with a multi-tiered professional club league system, as well as men's and women's national teams.

Basketball in India
Girls play basketball in Dharmsala, India.jpg
Basketball in Dharamsala, India
Governing bodyBasketball Federation of India
National team(s)India
Layup in basketball
Basketball in India Manipal University Jaipur

The Basketball Federation of IndiaEdit

The Basketball Federation of India is the official governing body of basketball in India. It follows FIBA rules for organizing basketball championships. It is affiliated to FIBA, FIBA Asia and IOA. It was established in 1950 [1]

Professional leagueEdit

The UBA Pro Basketball League is the new professional basketball league of India.


In India, the game of basketball started its journey in 1930 when it was played for the first time. The first Indian National Championship for men was contacted in 1934 in New Delhi. The Basketball Federation of India (BFI), which controls the game in India was formed in 1950. Throughout history, Indians learned to appreciate the game because of its fast scoring and intense activity from the beginning until the end.

Nowadays, it is considered as one of the widely played sports in India. India is one of those first few countries in the history of basketball that adopted the game within a few years of its inception and its teams actually consisted of five players on the court.

Basketball in India todayEdit

Basketball in India is played in most of the high schools, colleges and universities. There is considerable patronage for the game among the younger generation. Basketball in India is played by both men and women of all ages and ability. Many government institutions have professional basketball teams, who work for the institution and play for them. For example, ONGC in Uttarakhand, Indian Overaseas Bank in Tamil Nadu, Indian Bank in Karnataka, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited in New Delhi, Indian Railways, and Kerala Electricity Board play for their respective institution and state.

There are many championships for senior, junior, and youth levels for boys and girls.[2] Invitational all-India tournaments like Master Prithvinath Memorial (New Delhi), Don Bosco Invitational Tournament (Mumbai), Ramu Memorial (Mumbai), and many other tournaments in the southern part of India are being organized every year. Unlike many other countries like America, Russia, China, and Japan, basketball in India does not follow seasons. Indian basketball has championships throughout the year for different age groups. Championship for youth are mainly organized between April to July when children are having summer break from school.

Being one of the earliest countries to adopt basketball, India has so far produced numerous talented basketball players, who have earned recognition in the international arena. Indian basketball players have also won several trophies for their country. Basketball in India is mainly being run and managed by a large number of national and state level associations, spread all over India. These basketball associations are working with a common view of popularizing the game in all parts of the country. Apart from that, developing the overall infrastructure for the game and uncovering new talent from the grass route level are some of the other principal objectives of the Indian basketball associations.

List of major Basketball Tournaments in India:

  1. UBA Pro League
  2. National Championship
  3. Federation Cup
  4. ISBL and ICBL (Indian School Basketball League and Indian College Basketball League)

International support and influenceEdit

NBA in IndiaEdit

The National Basketball Association has realized the immense potential of the sport in this large and growing market, and is working hard with the Basketball Federation of India to expand the popularity of the sport.


Late in 2008, NBA great, Robert Parish, came to India as part of the NBA/WNBA Hoop School Program. This relationship further expanded into a cultural exchange, which saw Bollywood superstars Lara Dutta and Dino Morea make a trip to watch the Los Angeles Lakers in action, and on April 8, 2009, saw the NBA inaugurate a refurbished basketball court in a suburb in Mumbai.[3]


In April 2015, Sim Bhullar (born December 2, 1992), a Canadian of Indian descent, made his professional debut in the NBA.[4] He became the first player of Indian descent[5] to play in the NBA. Two months later, Satnam Singh Bhamara became the first Indian to ever be selected in the NBA by being the 52nd pick in the 2015 NBA draft for the Dallas Mavericks.[6] He'd also been the first player to be drafted as a high school postgraduate since 2005.


In April 2017, India on track (IOT) collaborated with NBA to form NBA Basketball Schools to train kids and teach them to play the NBA way. There are more than 12 centers running around the country from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and many more.


The first ever NBA games in India took place on 4 and 5 October 2019 at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai.[7][8] The NBA India Games 2019 featured two preseason games between the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers, and marked the first time that teams from a North American sports league played in India.[9]

IMG Reliance joint ventureEdit

In June 2010, a deal was struck with the BFI and the IMG Reliance joint venture which aims to take Indian basketball to a professional level. The 30-year deal sees IMG Reliance take control of the game launching a league, controlling merchandise, developing infrastructure and other commercial aspects in this new development. The BFI will launch and control school and college leagues with assistance from the IMG. IMG Reliance will also construct academies in India in line with the IMG Florida sports academy. In July, coaches from Florida came to India to select 8 boys and girls between the ages of 13-15 to take to the US on a scholarship. The first batch was selected and is preparing to undertake the scholarship at IMG Florida. More scholarships will be offered with the aim of launching India's first professional league in 4 years. IMG chief Ted Fortsmann and Reliance owner Mukesh Ambani see the IPL as a perfect model to use. Therefore, a franchise system is likely to be put into place.

At the moment, the NBA are not involved with the joint venture but Ted Fortsmann is willing to work with the NBA who already run recreational leagues in India with another leading Indian business, the Mahindra Group. These are set in expand from the initial 3 cities to other parts of India.

One of the first people to have been accepted to the IMG Reliance program, Satnam Singh Bhamara, had also declared to go for the 2015 NBA Draft while coming straight out of the IMG Reliance program as a post-graduate. When Bhamara was selected by the Dallas Mavericks as the 52nd pick of the draft, he would be the first player to have been drafted directly out of high school without any additional international, college, or D-League competition since Amir Johnson back in 2005.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Tournaments Archives - Ekalavyas". Archived from the original on 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2009-04-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "KINGS SIGN SIM BHULLAR TO A 10-DAY CONTRACT". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  5. ^ "KINGS SIGN CENTER SIM BHULLAR: Becomes the first player of Indian descent to ink an NBA contract". Archived from the original on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  6. ^ "Satnam Singh Bhamara declares for 2015 NBA Draft". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  7. ^ "May have been a tad early to come to India, says NBA commissioner - Times of India". The Times of India. India: The Times of India. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  8. ^ "NBA India Games 2019: Indiana Pacers defeat Sacramento Kings | News - Times of India Videos". The Times of India. India: The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2019-10-07. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
  9. ^ "First-Ever NBA Game in India to Be Played in Front of Youth from Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Program". NBA. Archived from the original on 24 September 2019. Retrieved 24 September 2019.

External linksEdit