September 30, 2012

1st ever Mahindra NBA Challenge National Championship to be held in New Delhi

For the past three years, the Mahindra NBA Challenge - the largest, inner-city amateur basketball league in India - has been held across various cities in the country. Now, for the first time, the NBA will bring the best of all the different cities together for a national championship at the Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi from October 4-7. The National Championship will be organised jointly by the Mahindra-NBA and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).

The winning teams from the Senior and Under-18 divisions, for both men and women, in each city will travel to Delhi to compete for the championship.

Three-time NBA Champion Luc Longley will be present throughout the event to host clinics for the qualifying teams. Longley is the first Australian to have ever played in the NBA. During his eleven-year career, he played with the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.

I wrote about his legacy as a lesser-known cog in one of the greatest squads ever: the 1995-1998 Chicago Bulls here.

The Most Valuable Players (Men and Women) in both the Senior and Junior divisions will win special awards from the tournament's sponsors.

Season Three of the Mahindra NBA Challenge has taken place in five cities. The programme began in Mumbai in November last year and was followed by Delhi, Kochi, Bangalore and Ludhiana.

Over 600 teams participated in the league, with over 1,100 games taking place across the India this season.

September 29, 2012

BFI/IMG-Reliance launch 1st ever school basketball league in Punjab

After success in the past few years in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore, the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) along with IMG-Reliance will launched the 1st Punjab School Basketball League at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, Punjab, on September 28th. 12 boys’ school teams and 8 girls’ teams from various parts of the state will be taking part. The 3-day tournament will conclude on October 1.

The competition is being held under the auspices of the Punjab Basketball Association (PBA).

PBA’s general secretary Teja Singh Dhaliwal has announced a cash prize of Rs 75,000 for the champions, Rs 40,000 for first runner-up, and Rs 30,000 for second runner-up, in both categories.

A national school league will be held between the winners from all the different cities in November.

September 28, 2012

3-time NBA Champion and Australian legend Luc Longley comes to India next week

Luc Longley, the 3-time NBA champ and member of perhaps the greatest basketball squad ever assembled - the 1995-1998 era Chicago Bulls - is coming to India for the Mahindra NBA Challenge National Championship in New Delhi next week. Despite his modest NBA averages, Longley retires as one of the greatest Australian basketball players ever and with the experience of winning alongside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. Here's celebrating the importance of a lesser-known player in the world's most famous team.

Click here to read full feature!

September 26, 2012

The Elephant, the Dragon, & the Basketball

Two months ago, I moved base from New Delhi to Beijing, moving from my home nation - the world's second most populous nation India - to China, the most populous. Now able to experience first-hand the frenzy of hoops in China, I have tied up with the finest English basketball website in China - - to produce some content that could be hopefully relevant to audiences interested in both nations.

Here is my first feature for them: And I HIGHLY recommend that you browse over to NiuBBall to check out this feature and many more insightful articles on China Basketball.

Friends and foes, brothers and rivals. China and India are two sides of the same magnet, forever connected yet forever repelling form each other. They are the world’s first and second largest populations. Each boasts of a civilization that is more than 5000 years old. Each is a country rich in culture, heritage, and personality. They are Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra. They are Tai Chi and Yoga. They are the Great Wall and the Taj Mahal. In recent years, they have been two of the fastest rising economies in the world. They are – respectively – the world’s largest communist and largest democratic nations.

They are neighbours.

Both China and India – in drastically different ways – have become global economic powerhouses and rightfully garnered serious attention from investors all across the globe. No matter the hardships back home, The Indian Elephant and the Chinese Dragon are here, and they are here to stay.

And as the world’s two largest markets, both China and India have received special attention from the NBA and its commissioner David Stern in recent years. Stern has made no secret of the fact that he has been looking to expand the NBA’s worldwide brand, and the world’s two largest populations will be his major vehicle to carry out these ambitions. China has already more than compensated in their part of the bargain, accepting basketball as the nation’s most popular sport, seeing the rise of a well-oiled machine in the CBA, and seeing their national squad rise to participate (but not always competitively) against the world’s best. In China, basketball became much, much more than just the NBA – it became a lifestyle and a mainstream obsession.

But the in Elephant – India – basketball has found an animal far tougher to tame to accept its ways. Sport in mainstream India means one word and one word alone: Cricket. Indians eat, sleep, drink, laugh, cry, obsess, and fully live embroiled in Cricket. The game is found in the country’s every nook and cranny. Like China, traditional Indian parents may still preach academics over sport, but for those who do have the courage and talent to seek out their sporting dreams, the overwhelming majority thinks just cricket, cricket, and cricket.

It’s no wonder than that while India’s Cricket National team are world champions, the same country can’t field a basketball squad good enough to beat Syria. While India’s professional cricket league (IPL) is catching up to the NBA and English Premier League football as one of the most lucrative in the world, the country’s best basketball players are still only semi-professionals since a pro basketball league is still a long way away from realisation.

In Asian basketball competitions, while China dominates the way that the USA dominates the world stage. A loss for China at any Asian level is sacrilege and anything other than first place is considered a disappointment. India has comparatively far humbler ambitions: While India does get to play the bully against its South Asian neighbours (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives), they are often the whipping boys themselves when they face Asia’s best – Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, or China. Although results have been slowly improving in recent years, India is still struggling mightily to break even the top 8 barrier in any Asian Men’s competition.

I'm born and bred in India, and have been writing about basketball in India for my blog HOOPISTANI for nearly three years, a period in which I also worked as the communications head for the Basketball Federation of India (BFI). Less than two months ago, my life took me in a slight tangent and I found myself shifting base from New Delhi to Beijing: not the biggest shift geographically and culturally, but a whole new world and lifestyle in many other ways.

Now in China, I’m getting the opportunity to view first-hand the hysteria of hoops and the influence that the game has had across the country. There are several lessons to be learnt for the Indian hoops observer. In many ways, China is the hoops model that India – like every other Asian country – would like to emulate. Unlike other Asian countries, India has the population, the market, and thus the potential heavy interest of investors to make it up.

But as anyone who has dealt with business in each of the two nations perhaps already knows, there are vast differences between China and India. China is structured, and some would say, almost too structured, leaving little room for creative basketball minds and talents (on and off the floor) to thrive. India is almost the exact opposite, lacking any sort of consistent structure and thus a lot of basketball operations in the country are a few steps below the Western standard of professionalism. The growth of basketball in India is further hampered by poor infrastructure, slow bureaucracy, and just the general lack of interest, due to other ‘cricketing’ distractions.

Although it may not be able to match the quality of Chinese basketball or the sheer number of fans in the country, India does have a lot of potential. India’s private sector has been a growing attraction for investors, and these include investors who are ready to help the sport grow independently of the support (or the harassment) of the government. Case in point: IMG Worldwide, a leading global sports/media management company, signed a deal with India’s richest conglomerate company Reliance to sponsor the growth of different Indian sports. IMG-Reliance became sponsors of the Basketball Federation of India two years ago and have been slowly charting out plans to improve both the status of the game and the quality of the national teams. If China got their big boost in basketball nearly 20 years ago with the inception of the CBA, India’s big boost has belatedly arrived now.

Popularity of Chinese basketball skyrocketed when Yao Ming was selected first in the 2002 NBA draft and went on to become a superstar player. No player in India (or for that matter, China) in the near future has the capacity to match Yao’s talent, but Indian fans have been pinning their hopes on their own idols who could one day help popularise the sport back home. Chief among them is 16-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara, a teenager born and bred in a small Indian village who grew to be 7 foot tall and develop into a star young player for India. Bhamara is still only a high-schooler, but as he trains and improves his game at the IMG Academy in Florida, all eyes will be upon the young giant to take the next big step for Indian hoops.

Meanwhile, the NBA, who already have several offices and a well-run operation in China, have expanded their outreach into India in recent years. The NBA has been running several grassroots programmes in India since 2010 and opened their first India office earlier this year. They have been able to work closely with India’s best players, coaches, and basketball administrators in this period and have genuinely impacted the increase of basketball following amongst young Indians with their multi-city competitions and events.

These are two countries with vastly different basketball aims: China dreams of being counted amongst the best teams in the world while India aims to move up the ladder in Asia first.

These are exciting times for the future of the accumulated 2.6 billion people in the two countries, and also for the fraction of those billions who eat, sleep, and live basketball. I’m just glad to find myself somewhere in the middle of it.

September 23, 2012

Iran win 4th FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo; Last place finish for India

Down by 1 point and the shot clock has been turned off. This is when Iran’s Aren Davoudi sank a clutch 3-pointer with just 19 seconds left in the game to give his side a 53-51 lead against the home side. Urged on by their fans, Japan had one last chance to tie the game or take the lead. With the 4th FIBA Asia Cup gold medal on stake, Iran played perfect defense to hold off their opponents, and as the clock expired, they celebrated as first-time winners of this championship in Tokyo on Saturday.

India also took part, and despite some improved and encouraging performances, lost all of their group games to finish at a shared last place (9th) with Macau.

Click here for my in-depth recap from the tournament!

September 22, 2012

India's team & schedule for 21st U18 Women’s FIBA Asia Championship in Malaysia

India’s under-18 women’s squad have qualified for the 21st U18 Women’s FIBA Asia Championship, set to be held in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, from September 29 – October 6, 2012. 12 teams will be taking part in the competition. India have been placed in ‘Level II’ in the tournament, along with Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan.

Click here to read full article

September 21, 2012

In Mumbai, a battle to save the Andheri YMCA basketball court

It seems that the days are numbered for the famous Andheri YMCA basketball court. Back in April this year, the YMCA announced a plan to replace the basketball court with a swimming pool. Although the YMCA has clarified that the court’s shutdown will only be temporary and it will return – new and improved – when the YMCA area has been refurbished, many regular players are skeptical and fear that their daily dose of hoops could be lost forever.

Click here to read the full article

September 19, 2012

India’s U18 Women’s Basketball team in Dongguan for practice games

In less than 10 days, India’s under-18 women’s national basketball team will be heading to the city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia to take part in the 21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women. In preparation for this tournament, the team will head to the city of Dongguan in China from September 19 – 27 for practice sessions and friendly games against local teams.

Click here to read full post

September 17, 2012

FIBA releases 'Basketball is Everywhere' photo-book (My Mussoorie photo included!)

On 18th June, 1932, a small group of representatives from just eight countries around the world gathered together to create FIBA, the International Basketball Federation. Over the course of the next 80 years, this federation grew from its measly birth of eight to bringing together 213 basketball federations from all across the world, from Afghanistan to the Marshall Islands, from India to the USA. In the process, the game of basketball developed into one of the world's favourite sports, courts sprung up in every nook and cranny that could fit a rim and some dribbling space across the planet, millions of balls dribbled across the globe, and the game's best players became global celebrities.

In short, basketball was everywhere.

To celebrate the growth of the game on their 80th anniversary this year, FIBA held the 'Basketball is Everywhere' photo contest, urging fans around the world to send their best hoops-related photographs. In three months, 1066 photographers from 104 different countries sent a total of 1174 photos to the website These pictures portrayed all sides of the wonder game of basketball - an NBA court in the USA, a crowd of people throwing up basketballs in Lithuania, a elderly man gathering basketballs in the Philippines, a desert basketball game in Mongolia, a French international basketball star ready to check into an international game, a snowed-in outdoor court in Finland... and many, many more.

FIBA held an online poll to determine the favourite photographs from their fans, and had their own judges weigh in to hand out the top rewards. The winners were announced on June 18th, exactly on FIBA's 80th birthday. The winner - Geronimo Abachian of Argentina - won the right to attend the Men's and Women's basketball finals at the Olympic Games in London. Photographs from the Philippines and the United States won the second and third prizes respectively.

And as for yours truly - Karan Madhok - I also took part in the competition, submitting a photograph I took two years ago of a basketball court in the city of Mussoorie in India. I grew up studying in Mussoorie for several years and worked there too, so the little town that sits up in the mountainous Himalayas has always been special to me. My photograph of this court won be a special prize from FIBA, and I was awarded a commemorative limited edition watch! FIBA also sent me a special souvenir photo-book of the 80 best photographs from the contest. My photograph of the court in Mussoorie was included, and it was also sent as a poster with the book!

It's been a pleasure flipping through the pages of this photo-book, which shows basketball in all forms, shapes, and sizes, all around the world. I think it has only re-affirmed my love for the game. I have included some of those photos in this article, but I highly recommend that you try and browse through more of these photos on FIBA's 80 years website.

Interestingly, India's sports-writing website has used its own vehicle to reach out to basketball fans recently in a similar way. SportsKeeda facebook page for Indian basketball - Basketball India - has also put together an incredible collection of photographs of basketball courts from across the country, photos snapped and sent by their fans. Take a look at their photo gallery too to see some great Indian hoops pics.

Inspired yet? Go out and take some basketball pics of your own court. More importantly, trash that camera and just go out and play basketball!

September 15, 2012

NBA Launches 1st ever 3x3 Tournament in India

NBA-India Press Release - The National Basketball Association (NBA) today launched the first-ever NBA 3x Presented By Sprite in India at The Great India Place Mall. The free interactive event combines basketball and entertainment to bring an unprecedented NBA experience to fans in Noida and Delhi. NBA 3x will be held in four cities from September 15-October 21. The event will visit Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai.

Seven-time NBA Champion Robert Horry and the Golden State Warriors dance team, the Warrior Girls, tipped off the event today. Horry played 16 seasons in the NBA for four teams. His seven championships are the most of any player not to have played on the 1960’s Boston Celtics.

The opening day also included a performance by hip hop and Bollywood artist Hard Kaur.

NBA 3x features the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament ever staged in India with 400 teams expected to participate; performances from top musical artists or well-known DJ each day; and a variety of on and off the court activities for fans.

The 3-on-3 tournament will have two age divisions: 16-18 and 18-23. The winners in each city will be flown to Mumbai to compete in a National Championship on October 21. The National Champions in each division will qualify to participate in a 2013 FIBA/NBA Asia 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

NBA 3x brings authentic NBA-style entertainment to fans in India. Fans will be able to participate in a variety of free contests and activities with the chance to win NBA merchandise. They can participate in basketball clinics, play NBA video games, measure themselves against cut-outs of NBA players. Fans present today also got a chance to interact with Horry and the Warrior Girls.

Supporting NBA 3x, Sprite will send two participants from the national champion team in the 18-23 division to NBA All-Star 2013. These two participants may get a chance to be part of the global pool of players from which NBA All-Stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James will select to be part of the Sprite Team Sudden and Team Intense competition during NBA-All Star 2013. In addition, the first Sprite Basket Blast 2012 will also be taking place in select cinemas across select cities in India from September through October.

Fans can purchase a Sprite Combo at participating cinemas to enter a lucky draw to get a chance to travel to NBA All-Star 2013. Four Winners will be selected and win trips to All-Star.

“We are excited to tip off NBA 3X presented by Sprite in Delhi with the help of seven-time NBA Champion Robert Horry. The event combines NBA-style entertainment, 3-on-3 basketball, and music to engage youth and build our fan base in India,” said NBA India Senior Director of Development Akash Jain. “This is the largest fan programme we have ever hosted in India and the wide range of basketball and lifestyle elements will provide memorable experiences for our fans.”

Here is the schedule for NBA 3x Presented By Sprite:


  • Delhi NCR: September 15-16
  • Hyderabad: September 22-23
  • Chennai: October 13-14
  • Mumbai: October 20-21

September 14, 2012

India’s Senior National team at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo

India’s Senior Men’s Basketball team has returned to competitive international action this week as they are amongst 10 squads taking part in the 4th FIBA Asia Cup, taking place in Tokyo, Japan. The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) announced the 12-member squad for India – led by Coach KK Chansoria – a few days ago. The tournament is being held from September 14-22, 2012.

Here's the full squad and short preview

Click here to read full article

September 8, 2012

Q&A: Geethu Anna Jose returns from Thailand with professional league experience

I got a chance to interview India's basketball superstar Geethu Anna Jose after her stint playing professionally in Thailand: about her experiences playing for the Sripatum University in Bangkok, her hopes of seeing a similar basketball league in India, and her thoughts about the future of her own career. Jose, as always, was completely frank and honest in her answers, providing interesting insight into the world where even India’s greatest women’s basketball player has to face struggles.

Click here to read full feature

September 7, 2012

David Stern discusses the future of NBA in India

The NBA has grown steadily in India, but there is still a long way to go. NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke about the league’s desire to increase its brand in India, including talks of a Hindi-English NBA website, more television agreements, more NBA tournaments, and potentially, a basketball league in India that bears the NBA name.

Click here to read full feature

September 5, 2012

India’s Group & Schedule at 2012 FIBA Asia Cup

India’s Senior Men’s National basketball team will be amongst the top 10 squads from across Asia to take part in the 4th FIBA Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in Tokyo, Japan, from September 14th – 22nd. India have been drawn in Group B for the Preliminary Round of this tournament, along with Iran, Chinese Taipei, 2010 silver-medalists Japan, and 2010 bronze-medalists Qatar.

The winner of the FIBA Asia Cup will automatically qualify for the 27th FIBA Asia Championship in 2013. The top four teams in the tournament will earn additional berths for their FIBA Asia sub zones. The 2010 version of this tournament was held in Beirut, Lebanon, and was won by the host country.

India, who didn’t qualify for the tournament in 2010, are the only team from the South Asia Sub Zone this year.

Group A consists of reigning champions Lebanon, Asian powerhouses China, Macau, Philippines, and Uzbekistan.

India’s Preliminary Round Schedule (All timings IST)

  • September 14 (10:30 AM): India vs. Iran
  • September 15 (10:30 AM): India vs. Qatar
  • September 16 (8 AM): India vs. Chinese Taipei
  • September 17 (1 PM): India vs. Japan

The top four teams from each group will advance to the Quarter-Final stage.

September 3, 2012

IOB (Men) & Southern Railway (Women) win 2012 All India Basketball Tournaments in Coimbatore

ONGC saw their incredible recent run of good play in Indian basketball tournaments come to an end on Sunday, September 2nd, as they were beaten in the final of the PSG Trophy All India Basketball Tournament in Coimbatore by IOB (Chennai). Although ONGC were the defending champions of this trophy - which tipped off this year on August 28th - it was IOB who played better in the second half of the final to clinch the trophy. Last year's runners-up Southern Railway lifted the women's CRI Pumps Trophy on the same day at the PSG Tech Courts in Coimbatore.

Click here to read full article.

September 2, 2012

Scott Flemming named Head Coach of India’s Men’s National Basketball Team

Scott Flemming, who spent the past two years as an assistant coach of the NBDL side Texas Legends, has been appointed as head coach of India’s Men’s National Basketball team. Flemming takes charge of the ‘Young Cagers’ following Kenny Natt.

Click here to read full article