October 31, 2012

CBA Webchat: T-Mac, A Retooled Guangdong Offence and Jianbings

A few days ago, I took part in a web-chat with two of the best English-language basketball writers in China - Andrew Crawford, the writer Shark Fin Hoops, and Jon Pastuzek, the man behind NiuBball. This was the first time that I have participated in a webchat with them, and as a relative newcomer to Chinese hoops, it served as an important introductory conversation. The chat was first published on Shark Fin Hoops.

The Chinese basketball season is about a month away from starting and in anticipation of this, cash has been flashed and some well-known NBA players will be plying their trade in China this season.

Andrew Crawford: Karan, as its your first time talking CBA hoops with us, why don’t you give people an idea of who you are and your writing background?

Karan Madhok: Well, I’m a basketball writer from India and have worked with the Basketball Federation of India, NBA.com/India, and SLAM Magazine. I keep a blog about basketball in India called ‘Hoopistani‘. I moved to China just over 3 months ago so I’m still new to the CBA and Chinese hoops.

AC: Great stuff. Do you think you’ll chose a team to follow this year or are you going to stay neutral the whole time!

KM: Oh, I’m definitely choosing the Beijing Ducks for 2 obvious reasons. 1) I live in Beijing and I’m already a fan of the city and 2) Call me crazy, but I’ve been on the Stephon Marbury bandwagon for over a decade now, following his career through its ups and downs, vaseline eating and championships. Oh and 3) The Ducks and have the coolest name in the CBA!

AC: That they do. Well, you’ve picked a fine time to arrive in the capital- I was hoping to get you on the Sharks bandwagon but alas. Since you brought up Stephon Marbury, lets neatly segway into another NBA player whose been around for a while- Tracey McGrady has signed with the Qingdao Eagles. Guys, do you think T-Mac can still do it or is this more about both sides making money off this?

KM: Well, this is definitely about the money first and foremost. Qingdao benefits, McGrady benefits, everyone’s happy. But for McGrady, I think there is still some (very) faint hope that this stint will give a him a chance in the NBA again once the CBA season ends. I don’t expect him to be a Marbury-type loyalist to basketball in China – at least not yet, anyways. Whether or not he gets a shot with the NBA again (and I’m not sure he will), McGrady will be using Qingdao for the stats and the money, and Qingdao will use McGrady for the money and the fans.

Still though, this is a logical next move for him. McGrady has definitely been very popular in China since the Yao days, and a star like him will no doubt bring some more excitement to the CBA.

Jon Pastuszek: Obviously, money plays a big factor when these big name NBA guys sign in China. But, whereas last year there were some players making well into the seven figures, T-Mac’s contract this season is reportedly quite reasonable by CBA standards. This is more of a long-term thing for him. McGrady, a la Stephon Marbury, will aim at building his brand inside the Chinese market. He’s already hugely popular among fans and the belief is that if he can stick around and build Qingdao into a winner, he’ll become an even bigger name out here.

About his play, there’s a few questions: Can his body hold up to 30+ minutes a night? Is he explosive enough to get to the basket consistently? How is he going to handle the pressure of having to score 25 to 30 points a night?

With his height and versatility, he will find ways to effect the game beyond scoring the ball, but in the CBA, imports are expected to put the ball in the hoop… and with seven Chinese players leaving the team this off-season, including Li Gen, he won’t have much help around him to alleviate that pressure.

AC: Absolutely- the Li Gen point is crucial in my books. I know last season, Qingdao were happy to let Lester Hudson call the shots but they always had a solid Plan B in Li. Cai Liang was also a decent player for them too and he’s gone as well so it really is all about the star player this season.

After the K-Mart/Patty Mills/ Wilson Chandler drama last season, how do you think T-Mac will handle his debut year in China. Qingdao is obviously a very nice city but it certainly isn’t Orlando or Houston!

JP: While not Orlando or Houston, or even Beijing or Shanghai, Qingdao is actually a very pleasant city by the coast and one I think McGrady could get used to. He’s been to China several times before and he says he is aware of all of the issues he’ll have to face, so I don’t think living here will be an earth-shattering adjustment for him. Unless his body chooses not to cooperate and his play suffers as a result, I think he will adapt just fine.

KM: I have never been to Qingdao, so it won’t be fair for me to comment on how McGrady can fit in. But I believe that if guys like JR Smith and Kenyon Martin can go to the hinterlands of China, then McGrady will be okay, too. In the end, if the money is good, he’ll be good. Plus, he’ll enjoy the type of popularity here that he has never experienced in his career. That will be worth it all.

AC: Just behind T-Mac in terms of the wow factor is probably Yi Jianlian coming back to China and playing for his home team, the Guangdong Tigers. The fact that the Tigers now have an already strong local roster that is now reinforced by getting a Chinese NBA caliber player as well as still having room to add two overseas imports has to make the favorites going into the start of the season?

KM: From what I’ve been able to gather in my short time here, it seems that Guangdong are primed to be the favourites again. The NBA imports may get all the hype but it will be the familiarity of Yi coming back to his old system that will really propel this team.

JP: I’ve almost always been a subscriber to the belief that the reigning champions come into the season as the favorites. And with a Beijing team that made a big addition themselves with Li Gen, I still think they’re the favorites.

But, Yi is obviously a massive signing for them. Not only is he an NBA-caliber seven footer, he’s one who has no playing time restrictions because he’ll be registered as a Chinese player. Yet, while he’ll be force this year, Guangdong didn’t play well in the time that he was with the team last year during the NBA lockout, and I think there will be an adjustment period as his team gets re-adjusted to playing alongside him. Having too much talent is one of those good problems, though, and I think Guangdong is certainly the odds-on-pick to get back to the Finals.

AC: The third and final ‘ big’ name we should talk about is Gilbert Arenas- again with Guangdong. That signing looks to be all but done and Agent Zero is on his way to Guangzhou. On paper, this is an excellent move- a scoring PG like this will be an asset on any team but he’s a little crazy to say the least!

KM: This is a high risk/high reward move of course: either Arenas just shoots them out of contention or he somehow manages to play with Yi and build a championship.

JP: Like T-Mac, the issue with Gil will be his body’s ability to deal with 30+ minutes a night. If he really is healthy. like some reports have suggested, and he has some of that explosiveness he had a few years ago, he’ll be a problem for opponents. I question if this is really what Guangdong needs right now, especially with Yi coming back. Historically, this is a team that thrives when they get “system foreigners,” like Smush Parker and Lester Hudson, ones who understand that the team doesn’t need their imports to dominate offensively. Last season, they had a similar import in Aaron Brooks, and while he played very well, he struggled to run good offense and get his teammates good looks in the Finals against Beijing. Critics of this argument will say that Arenas is bigger and stronger than Brooks and will be able to effect the game in more ways than just scoring, but I don’t believe its ever been within Arenas’ nature to be a distributor. There’s a lot of potential for Guangdong to be an explosive offense, but whether the pieces fit together is something that I’m not too sure on.

AC: Have there been any other moves that have caught your eye? I really like the Hudson move to Dongguan and the Elijah Milsapp signing by my Sharks is also a nice bit of business. Millsap’s got that unknown quality to him but everyone’s excited about him in the city and he’ll hopefully provide a ton of dynamism between the 2 and 3 spots.

JP: I’m with you on Hudson, he should be a great fit with the Leopards. But I’m surprised you didn’t mention D.J. White, who if healthy is going to have a huge season in Shanghai. I like what Xinjiang has done, burying the hatchet on James Singleton and whatever beefs were there from two years ago, and bringing Von Wafer to play alongside him. I think Wafer is going to shred the nets this season and Singleton, as always, will do all of the little things in between that has made him such a good player in this league over the last three years. And I’m totally buying the culture change in Foshan: New coach, three good imports and a complete Chinese roster overhaul. Maybe they’re not a playoff team, but they’ll be much improved.

AC: I think for me, White’s NBA resume implies he’ll be a strong signing so I’m more instinctively drawn to the ‘what could be’ of Milsapp rather than the ‘what we know’ about White. This could easily be a case of preseason optimism but he’s quick and can make shots from all over the court so I’m hoping he could be Shanghai’s own Marcus Williams but time will tell on that one. Viz Foshan- any sort of culture change within that organisation can only be for the better because they’ve been nothing but mediocre for several seasons.

Is there a team in the league who is desperately screaming out for a certain individual/kind of player to help them in the upcoming season?

JP: Jiangsu needs bigs like I need jianbings in the morning, which is why they signed one of the bigger centers on the market, Garret Siler, and I’m looking into buying a jianbing skillet to put in my house. OK maybe just walking three minutes outside my house will do, but you get the point. Siler will help, but he is not a 36 minute a night kind of guy and I don’t think their Chinese are good enough to play consistently well when he’s off the court. I like Siler if he’s in shape, but I think they still are lacking in that area. I think Pooh Jeter will be solid for Shandong, but with Sui Ran already there at point guard, I’m surprised they didn’t go with a ball-handling wing. Maybe they’re committed to developing Ding Yanyuhang this season.

AC: Jianbings for life! That said, I don’t think even those delicious turnips ones I get on the corner of Wuding Lu and my apartment over in SH are going to help out Jiangsu this season. They were truly, truly bad and even my love for Meng Da’s oddness and Nanjing as a city can obscure the reality that the Dragons bouncing back to anything respectable this season is going to be tough.

Alright gents- There’ll obviously be a preview before the the first round of games starts but with the CBA season now a month away from starting, how excited are you about Chinese basketball in 2012/13?

JP: think it’s going to be a great season. For once, there’s actually some parity in the league — not just at the top of the league, but also in the middle part of the standings. Overall, I think the quality of the league top to bottom is as good as its ever been. The CBA is getting better and better every year: The level of foreign players, Chinese players and coaching continue to be on the upward. And as we saw last year during the Finals, fan interest is at an all-time high. Excited to see how it all plays out this year.

KM: I’m really excited obviously since this will be my first time to witness the action first-hand in China. The CBA is becoming one of the most-hyped leagues in the world. Of course, there can be a lot of criticisms and drawbacks of the way certain things are done here, but coming from India, the CBA model is a good one to follow to see how a league should be built and developed. This season, Yi is back, McGrady and Arenas are on board, and I live in the city of the Ducks and Marbury. What’s not to love?

AC: Indeed. I’ll gladly second Jon’s point about the upcoming season. There is so much to get excited about. For me personally, its been a massively long offseason and the sooner I get my three nights of basketball the better. Now I’ve got a season under my belt from last year, there’s a whole range of teams I want to see the Sharks crush, players I want to see crossed up and fourth quarter shoot-outs I want us to sneak out off by a point. Can’t wait. Thanks for your time guys- we’ll have to do this again before the season starts in late November

October 30, 2012

NBA 2012/13: 21 questions… And a thorough preview of the new season

Don’t listen to anything the Mayans told you about 2012. The new season is here, and it’s going to bring a whole lot more sunshine to our lives. I say Bah! Humbug! to all the pessimism. It’s the start of the new NBA season and no amounts of freezing cold weather, Sandy-like hurricanes, corrupt politicians, or doomsday preppers can douse my enthusiasm.

So before the league tips off tonight I present to you 21 questions that have been brewing most in my mind about the new NBA year, and then, in my season preview, perhaps attempt to predict some of those answers.

Click here for full feature!

October 27, 2012

50 U14 boys & girls invited to India’s national coaching camp in New Delhi

BFI News: 50 under-14 boys and girls from across India have been chosen based on their performances at the most recent Sub-Junior National Championship for a national coaching camp in the capital New Delhi, set to be held for a month from October 29-November 28 2012 at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. The camp will be conducted by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).

In order to develop future talent for basketball in India, the BFI is making several efforts to upgrade the standard of Indian basketball and is striving to achieve the best with help of international level training, promising young players, and the expertise of international and domestic coaches.

The camp is an important step if Indian basketball is to be competitive at the international level, as it is imperative to acclimatise the young players to high level training and competition to prepare them for future international competitions. The players in the under-14 camp will be participating in two basketball practices and one strength training session per day to ensure they are provided the proper foundation of basketball fundamentals and strength. Throughout the camp, the players will compete in friendly matches against various domestic teams; including school, college and state teams. This will allow them to implement their training and coaches to evaluate the performances.

Here is the full list of players invited for the camp


  • S. Sai Kumar (Andhra Pradesh)
  • K. Bharghav (Andhra Pradesh)
  • Pranav Nair (Delhi)
  • Akshay Adhana (Haryana)
  • Sahil Kalyan (Haryana)
  • Sameer Qurshei (Maharashtra)
  • Mohamed Sharikh Mogradia (Maharashtra)
  • Abdul Khalid Khan (Maharashtra)
  • Zorinsanga (Mizoram)
  • Saurabh Kharab (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Himanshu Singh Bisht (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Mayank Barde (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Shubhmeet Singh (Punjab)
  • Jaskaran Singh (Punjab)
  • Aakash Khatik (Rajasthan)
  • Mohit Jakhar (Rajasthan)
  • Abbas Ali (Rajasthan)
  • P. Bala Dhaneshwar (Tamil Nadu)
  • Adarsh Premsan J. (Tamil Nadu)
  • Ajay Singh (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Chandan Singh (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Alok Kumar Shaw (West Bengal)
  • Suman Majhi (West Bengal)
  • Binod Rajak (West Bengal)
  • Saddam Hossain (West Bengal)
  • Coaches: Rajeshvar Rao Kalva (Chhattisgarh); Paramdeep Singh (Punjab)


  • Mahima Bhardwaj (Chhattisgarh)
  • Vimla Ekka (Chhattisgarh)
  • Laxmi Sravanthi (Chhattisgarh)
  • Gulabsha Ali (Chhattisgarh)
  • Manisha Gujar (Chhattisgarh)
  • Bharti Kuhar (Haryana)
  • Namrata Hooda (Haryana)
  • Sandhya C. R. (Karnataka)
  • Annapurna C. (Karnataka)
  • Snigddha (Karnataka)
  • Reyna Katherine (Kerala)
  • Akhila Mohan (Kerala)
  • Shreema (Maharashtra)
  • Rucha (Maharashtra)
  • Rutuja (Maharashtra)
  • Palak Malik (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Pooja Singh (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Deeksha Masram (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Prabhjot Kaur (Punjab)
  • M. Nishanthi (Tamil Nadu)
  • J. Ishwarya (Tamil Nadu)
  • I. Amritha (Tamil Nadu)
  • Shreyabhi Vats (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Harshita Balyan (Uttar Pradesh)
  • Pallavi Kumari (West Bengal)
  • Coaches: Kuldeep Singh Brar (MP); Divya Singh (Delhi)

October 26, 2012

Liga Endesa – Spain’s Top Tier Basketball League – now airs in India!

As a gift of the globalising world of basketball, Indian hoop fans have been presented with an alternative to the NBA by SET India, which has signed on a deal to broadcast the Liga Endesa – the top tier Men’s basketball league from Spain – on the Sony SIX channel in India for the next three years. More popularly known as the Liga ACB, the Endesa is the widely considered to be the second-strongest basketball league in the world behind the NBA, played in Spain which is currently standing second to only the USA in world basketball.

Click here to read full feature

October 24, 2012

Faster Stronger Better India: Zak Penwell’s book hopes to improve Indian Basketball Players

A year and a half ago, the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) hired the American Zak Penwell, the first ever Strength and Conditioning Coach for the national basketball system. After working with Indian players of all ages, levels, and states from across the country, Penwell has penned a book for Indian basketball players to help them develop into the best that they can be. Here is my review of this book, which is the perfect guide for Indian coaches and players who want to run faster, jump higher, and perform better.

Click here to read the full feature

October 23, 2012

Beijing Heat, Shanghai Clippers

With a high-profile pre-season game, the NBA continues to find a home in China.

I wrote this feature for SLAM Online, and it was originally published on their website on October 13, 2012.

Beijing is about 7,500 miles away east from Miami and 6,500 miles away west from Los Angeles.

But on this night, the distance doesn’t matter. The capital of China becomes home court to two cities far removed from the consciousness of its people. A buzzing max crowd of nearly 18,000 fans greeted the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers for a pre-season game on Thursday night. It was the continuation of the NBA’s China Games program to bring NBA events to China. But this time, the NBA wholly outdid itself.

Never before had it gifted the fans in China an event so massive. The NBA champions—featuring the world’s reigning champion of everything, LeBron James, there was Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the still-adored Ray Allen—versus the slightly lesser-hyped but still entertaining group of Clippers led by Blake Griffin and the out of action Chris Paul.

In a time when America heads toward its elections and China’s influence on the US economy and jobs becomes a hot topic of debate again, thousands of miles away, the NBA sells America to China in the most entertaining way possible. The Chinese love basketball and they love the NBA, and have been devoting their attention to NBA stars feverishly since the Yao days. Over the past few years (let’s call it the post-Starbury era), the NBA has turned around and reciprocated that attention.

NBA players—locked out or not—have moved to play in China (Marbury’s adventures have been well-documented, and the most recent member of the ‘CBA Club’ has been Tracy McGrady). All of the NBA’s biggest stars—from LeBron to Kobe to Kevin Durant—now consider a visit to the country a must during the offseason. Dwyane Wade recently jumped ship off the Jordan Brand to sign for Li Ning. The NBA’s biggest office out of New York is in Beijing. And official NBA games and events are being held regularly.

But this was bigger than it all. China is a market that the NBA—along with damn near every other company in the world—wants to earn off of. The NBA is just doing a better job of it than most.

The game tipped off at the MasterCard (formerly Wukesong) Center in Beijing, the same arena where several players at the game won Gold medals at the 2008 Olympics. A loud, packed house greeted the two teams as they came out to the floor. And they came out with the works. The mascots and acrobatic troupes from both teams came along to China with the teams, as did the Miami Heat cheerleaders.

This was going to be no ordinary pre-season game. For many of the players and the two teams in question, the two games in China this week can earn them more popularity than a dozen of regular-season games back home. While the preseason is used mostly as an opportunity for squads to get comfortable with each other, get in shape, and learn any new systems, this game was to be no practice run. The fans—starved of NBA action that they so badly crave—were given a show, on and off the court.

The game might have been in Beijing, but it felt very much at home to Miami. The Heat have the ambition and the ingredients to become China’s (and thus Asia’s) favorite team, possibly in an attempt to steal that mantel from the omnipresent Lakers.

The Heat have an official website for China, feature the world’s best player in LeBron, and have two players who have been signed to Chinese shoe companies: Shane Battier (Peak) and most recently, Dwyane Wade (Li Ning). Outside the arena, hawkers on the footpath sold Heat jerseys, t-shirts, hats, mouse-pads, posters, badges, magnets and a whole lotta other accessories with LeBron and Wade’s smiling faces. Some hawkers sold binoculars for the fans who wanted to zoom in to take a closer look at the legends on court from the upper levels.

The biggest star of the night was of course LeBron. LeBron’s Heat jerseys were on the backs of most Chinese fans, but many even showed up in his Team USA gear and hilariously, his Cleveland jerseys, too. Fans roared at every glimpse of the reigning MVP.

And LeBron didn’t disappoint, coming out on fire and hitting his first four shots, a mix of good contested jump-shots and thunderous drives to the basket. Newly crowned as champion and free of the judgmental eyes of the world, LeBron looked especially comfortable in his movement and his decision-making.

Although he may have been suffering from niggling injuries, Wade also played significant minutes. Although he didn’t put up many points, DWade looked extremely explosive running the floor and on the defensive end. That bounce in his step? Yeah, it’s back.

The rest of the Beijing/Miami Heat got fervent support too. Fans cheered for Chris Bosh. They cheered for Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis. They got downright maniacal when the new face, Ray Allen, checked into the game. Although he still looks wrong in a Heat jersey, Mr. Shuttlesworth seemed eerily comfortably in his new role with the Heat, spreading the floor, attacking the basket, and that jump shot was as smooth as it has ever been.

On the other end of the floor, the Clippers sorely missed Chris Paul, who attended the game but didn’t play a single minute recovering from the thumb surgery. Blake Griffin—as expected—was a major draw, and after a stuttering first half, did manage to electrify the crowd with three of four entertaining dunks after halftime.

But most of the time he and the other Clipper bigs looked lost without Paul’s leadership and shot-creation. DeAndre Jordan particularly earned the mockery of the fans as he struggled his way to a 1-10 shooting night from the free-throw line. Caron Butler looked the most confident Clipper on the floor.

It was the rest of the Clippers—a rag tag bunch of ‘where are they nows’—that provided some intriguing moments. The Clips added Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Lamar Odom and Matt Barnes to their lineup over the offseason, and all of them earned some major burn. They may have struggled to find cohesiveness in this early pre-season game, but could definitely grow together to become one of the more effective bench mobs in the League over the course of the season.

Miami dominated early, taking a 52-35 halftime lead, and finished the game with a 94-80 win. LeBron led with 20 points and Ray Allen added 15 from off the bench. Griffin (19) and Jamal Crawford (16) led the Clippers.

The Heat clearly felt the need to entertain and dominate enough to solidify their fan base in China. But the game was about much more than basketball. It was a delightful onslaught of everything NBA-culture. The Jumbotron, the cheerleaders, the mascots, the hip-hop, the t-shirt toss, the Mexican Wave, the Kiss Cam.

For a brief three hours I was in the MasterCard Arena in Beijing, I felt like I was in any major NBA arena. It was all Americana—all except the lack of good ol’ American concession food, and of course, the Chinese language. The PA announcer pronounced the name of each NBA player in English and then their Chinese pronunciation.

As another gift to its Chinese audience, the NBA brought out some surprise guests. A collection of the greatest players to have ever worn a Heat jersey—Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Glen Rice, Steve Smith and Bruce Bowen—were invited out to the court at halftime. And as a bonus, the NBA’s greatest winner Bill Russell, came out to a deafening cheer, too.

The energy went on way after the final buzzer. NBA fever had hit China big, and this year, it seems set to keep getting bigger. The NBA held a Fan Appreciation Day in Shanghai on Saturday, and on Sunday, the Heat and Clippers will play a second game at the same venue. The same weekend, it was announced officially that the NBA will be opening a basketball center in the city of Tianjin near Beijing, which would include “NBA-style basketball courts, a fitness center, a restaurant and other features.”

The idea of an NBA-branded global basketball league has been bouncing around for quite some time now. Whether or not you believe that this idea, a) makes sense, or b) is even possible, one thing is for sure: The NBA has a massive market for its players, teams, show, the entire product across the world. And China is near the forefront, with hundreds of thousands of consumers in love with a product that exists mostly thousands of miles away from them.

With the regular-season tip-off just a few weeks away, NBA teams like the Heat and the Clippers will be using the next few days to smoothen out the rough hinges and merge together in preparation for the first games that actually matter. They will be back in North America and back to their regular-scheduled programming.

But what was just a low-key exhibition in the NBA books and the AP sport recaps was far more important for the burgeoning NBA market in China. The games in Beijing and Shanghai will further solidify the NBA’s gigantic presence in the world’s most populous country and the type of soft-power diplomacy between the US and China that no amount of political rhetoric can buy.

And even though they were thousands of miles away from their home cities and their headquarters, the Heat, the Clippers and the NBA found themselves in an environment so different to their own and yet, so eager to accept and embrace it. In China, they found another home court.

October 22, 2012

Tamika Catchings leads Indiana Fever to 1st ever WNBA Championship

The 2012 WNBA Finals concluded with the Indiana Fever defeating the Minnesota Lynx 3-1 in the best-of-five series to win the WNBA title for the first time in franchise history. The Fever defeated the Lynx 87-78 in the clinching Game 4 to close out the series.

Click here to read full article.

October 20, 2012

3 new FIBA commissioners; 4 new international referees in India

Following the FIBA Asia Referee Clinic held at the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium in New Delhi from October 14-16, three individuals passed the FIBA Commissioners examination to earn FIBA commissioners license. Dr. Prince K. Mattom (Kerala), Mohammed Aslam Khan (Rajasthan), and Sunil Rattan (Delhi) have joined the three pre-existing FIBA Commissioners in India.

The FIBA Commissioner is responsible for managing the referees in the FIBA matches.

Meanwhile, four Indian individuals passed the FIBA International Referees Examination and now add their names amongst the 19 international basketball referees in India. Naveen Kumar and Imran Ali from Karnataka, Prem Kumar from Andhra Pradesh, and Biswijth Ojha from West Bengal are new FIBA referees.

October 17, 2012

NBA 3x to be launched in Mumbai for the first time

NBA-India Press Release: The NBA will be hosting the inaugural NBA 3x in Mumbai on October 20-21 at the Inorbit Mall in Malad. The free interactive event will combine basketball and entertainment to bring an unprecedented NBA experience to fans in Mumbai.

NBA 3x will feature the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament ever staged in India with 400 teams expected to participate; performances from top musical artists and well-known DJs 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 from the cities of Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai 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.

Two of India's top DJs - Clement and Ajit - will perform on October 20 while award winning singer Anushka Manchanda will be performing on October 21.

NBA 3x will bring authentic NBA-style entertainment to fans in India. Fans will 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 and measure themselves against cut-outs of NBA players. For a full event schedule, fans can visit NBA.com.

Sprite will send two participants from the national champion team in the 18-23 division to NBA All-Star Weekend 2013 in Houston. These two participants may get a chance to be part of the global pool of players from which NBA superstars 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 take 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.

October 16, 2012

3-peat champs Kerala (Girls); Hosts MP (Boys) win 29th Youth Nationals in Indore

On the last day of the 29th Youth National Basketball Championship for Boys & Girls, both the hosts Boys and Girls teams were in action. Madhya Pradesh Boys defeated Delhi in a rematch of the 2011 Finals, while the Madhya Pradesh Girls lost to Kerala, who made it a three-peat by winning the Youth Nationals three times in a row.

Check out the full recap of the games, the final scores, and final standings from the tournament.

Click here to read full feature.

October 14, 2012

SportsKeeda NBA Top 20: No. 7 – Dwyane Wade

At Number 7 on our SportsKeeda NBA Top 20 list for this season we have the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade. But despite all the questions, doubts, and concerns, Wade starts the 2012/13 NBA season with his second NBA championship ring on his finger and with his knees fully rested in a rare offseason without basketball. He claims that the jump-shot is better too. He’s older, wiser, rested, and crowned champ again, a proven winner returning as a favourite to win again as a leader in the league’s most stacked squad, running along with the league’s best player.

Click here to read my full feature.

October 11, 2012

Troy Justice & Zak Penwell to lead BFI's "Train the Trainers" programme in Indore

During the course of the 29th Youth (U16) National Basketball Championship for Boys & Girls in Indore (Madhya Pradesh), the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) will organise a 'Train the Trainers' clinic for coaches who are taking part in the tournament as well as other local coaches in attendance on Friday, October 12. The clinic will be led by Troy Justice, the Senior Director of Basketball Operations of NBA India, and Zak Penwell, National Strength & Conditioning Coach for the BFI.

The clinic will be held from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM on Friday at the Indoor Basketball Court of the Emerald Heights International School in Indore. This is an open event and all coaches are welcome to attend.

Roopam Sharma, the CEO of BFI, said, “This programme continues our Train the Trainer programme which is essential to the growth of basketball across India. Holding these clinics in conjunction with the National Championships will allow coaches from each state to increase their knowledge, as well as ensure that we conduct clinics across each geographical region of India. The BFI, with the help of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), has procured International Coaches for the purposes of, not only training our National Teams, but also educating the masses to develop the game at all levels.

"I am grateful to both Zak Penwell and Troy Justice for taking the time to come to Indore and conduct this event. I hope all the participants will obtain an immense knowledge and a deeper understanding from this event."

Troy Justice is the Director of Basketball Operations, National Basketball Association (NBA) India. He provides expertise to the NBA India regarding basketball development, operations, administration, personnel and trends.

Zak Penwell is currently the National Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Basketball Federation of India. He is responsible for all aspects of physical development for the Senior and Junior Men's and Women's National Basketball Teams.

The 29th Youth National Championships are being held in Indore from October 6-13, 2012.

October 10, 2012

SportsKeeda NBA Top 20: No. 9 – Derrick Rose

The SportsKeeda NBA Top 20 continues with my feature on Derrick Rose at 9th place. Rose won’t start this season as a top 10 player in the NBA because Rose won’t play in the start of this season. But by the time we call curtains to the NBA year, by the time the regular season turns into the playoffs and the men begin to separate themselves from the boys, Rose will be back, and he will have the potential to be unstoppable again.

Click here to read full feature.

October 9, 2012

Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, and the strange present of past legends

I was amongst the crowd of approximately ten thousand Chinese fans who showed up to watch a team featuring former NBA-ers - headlined by Allen Iverson - take on the home team Beijing Ducks in an exhibition. Beijing's professional basketball team was led by the forever mercurial Stephon Marbury who inspired the squad to their first ever Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) championship this March. Here are my in-person observations on where these two greats of the past are headed in the future.

Click here to read the full feature!

October 8, 2012

1st ever Mahindra NBA Challenge National Championship concludes in Delhi

The best performing-basketball teams form the Mahindra NBA Challenge tournaments across the country were brought together to the capital for the first-ever Mahindra NBA Challenge National Championship from October 4-7, at the Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi. With teams from Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, and Punjab invited, competitions were held in the Senior Men, Senior Women, under-18 boys, and under-18 girls sections. Kerala (Men), Delhi (Women), Punjab (U18 Boys), and Karnataka (U18 Girls) won the Finals in their respective competitions on Sunday.

The day begun with the under 18 Boys final between Punjab and Karnataka. After a close start, the Punjab side came into their own as they slowly began to build a strong lead against Karnataka. The match ended with a final score of 107–69 and Punjab taking the title.

The under-18 Girls finals between Karnataka and Kerala saw a fight till the end as Karnataka - playing some strong defense - came out victorious 59–43.

Kerala's Men came out on top with a convincing victory over Karnataka 75-53. In the Senior Women's division, Delhi beat Kerala after a close game 50-45.


  • Men: Kerala
  • Women: Delhi
  • U18 Boys: Punjab
  • U18 Girls: Karnataka

    Tournament MVPs

  • Men: Manoj R (Kerala)
  • Women: Prashanti Singh (Delhi)
  • U18 Boys: Palpreet Singh Brar (Punjab)
  • U18 Girls: Roshini Rosa John (Karnataka)

    Three-time NBA Champion Luc Longley was present throughout the event to interact with players and handed over the winning team their trophies. The Most Valuable Players (Men and Women) in both the Senior and Junior divisions will win special awards from the tournament's sponsors.

  • October 7, 2012

    China win U18 Women’s ABC again; Undefeated India win promotion to Level I

    In a rematch of the final from two years ago, China and Japan faced each other – in the foreground of hostile political relations – in the Final of the 21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, on October 6th. Like last time, China once again proved to be the slightly stronger side and held the edge for a 66-60 victory. This was China’s second consecutive win at the championship and an unprecedented 13th overall!

    Relegated to Level II of the tournament since 2008, India played a masterful tournament to all of their games, go 5-0 in the course of the tournament, and win their spot back up to Level I for the next chapter of this championship in 2014.

    Click here to read my in-depth review of the tournament.

    October 6, 2012

    29th Youth National Basketball Championship tips off in Indore

    24 boys' and 24 girls' teams from across India will be taking part in the 29th Youth National Basketball Championship for Boys & Girls, set to be held in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, from October 6-13, 2012. The tournament, organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI), is for under-16 players, and will be held at the Emerald Heights International School in Indore.

    The tournament is being organised by the BFI in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh Basketball Association.

    Last year’s championship was held in Nagpur, Maharashtra where the Delhi (Boys) and Kerala (Girls) won. 2012 hosts Madhya Pradesh will look to build on their boys’ 2nd place finish last year.

    Matches will be played in one indoor court and two outdoor courts. The format of the Championship will be league cum knockout of Level 1 and 2.

    At the onset, Roopam Sharma, CEO of the BFI, said “Basketball Federation of India is delighted to host the 29th Youth National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls in Indore. The BFI is thankful to the Madhya Pradesh Basketball Association and Emerald Heights International School for rendering their support in organising and hosting the event. The Youth National Championship is aimed at providing the perfect platform for these young boys and girls to showcase their talent and keep them abreast with game strategies and skills required to improve the playing standards of basketball. I am certain that such competitive championships will sustain the interest of youngsters and will nurture, groom and further encourage them to take up basketball as a career option.”

    During the event, 25 boys and girls will be scouted and selected to participate in the U-16 National Coaching Camp which will be held subsequently to further enhance their training skills. These 50 players will be receiving the monetary benefits as a part of the BFI’s ongoing program to encourage the talented players. The best amongst the U-16 probables will be further selected to participate in the next a future international competition.

    To further develop the game, the BFI has organized NBA India’s Director of Basketball Operations, Troy Justice, and India’s National Strength & Conditioning Coach Zak Penwell, to conduct a coaching clinic for the participating and local coaches October 12th. This is an open event and all coaches are welcome to attend. This initiative is primarily undertaken by the BFI under the Train the Trainers Programme.

    October 4, 2012

    Old York Knicks

    With the additions of Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas, and Pablo Prigioni, the 2012/13 New York Knicks have officially become the oldest team in NBA history. Some of the new old Knicks have made history, but at this point, they are history.

    Click here to read full feature.

    October 3, 2012

    SportsKeeda presents 2013 NBA Top 20

    The 2012/13 NBA season is just around the corner, and we – the family of Basketball Writers at SportsKeeda – have been waiting for tip off with high anticipation. And so, a half dozen of the best basketball minds on this website got together to debate, discuss, and analyse the best in the NBA, the individuals who make this into the most exciting league in the world - the SportsKeeda Top 20.

    Read full article here.

    October 1, 2012

    29th National Youth Basketball Championship to be held in Indore from Oct 6-13

    The finest under-16 basketball players in India will be taking part in the 29th Youth National Basketball Championship for Boys and Girls in the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh from October 6-13, 2012. The tournament – organised by the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) and the Madhya Pradesh Basketball Association – will be held at the Emerald Heights International School in Rau.

    Secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Basketball Association Kulvinder Singh Gill said that the tournament is returning to the city after a period of 11 years.

    Over 50 boys and girls teams from dozens of different Indian states will be taking part in this week-long event. Matches will be played in indoor courts.

    Last year’s championship was held in the city of Nagpur in Maharashtra. Delhi (Boys) and Kerala (Girls) were last year’s champions and will be looking to defend their titles in Indore.