Mumbai calling: Homecoming for Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive

Vivek Ranadive will be in India as owner of NBA team Sacramento Kings, one of two squads slated to play two pre-season games at the NSCI against Indiana Pacers.

Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive visits the Taj Mahal on Wednesday.   -  GETTY IMAGES

It is a normal routine for Mumbaikars, staying in the suburbs, to take the sea link to reach Worli’s NSCI stadium to catch some indoor sporting action.

Driving above the sea is just the sort of setting Sacramento Kings' owner Vivek Ranadive may appreciate, as a symbol of the city’s infrastructure development, towards making his basketball dream come true.

The 61-year-old software entrepreneur will be back in the city as owner of NBA team Kings, one of two squads slated to play two pre-season games at the NSCI against Indiana Pacers.

Ranadive started his journey by becoming a co-owner and then vice-chairman at Golden State Warriors in 2010. He then went on to buy the Kings from the previous owners in 2013 as part of a group.

Ranadive made several trips to India earlier. But, this will be the first time he will travel as team owner for a pre-season game in an Indian stadium.

Floating Court

The NBA India Games 2019 activities in Mumbai, include a floating basketball court on the Arabian sea, close to the Bandra side of the sealink.

Though matches will be played indoors, this outdoor court amidst the waves is the sort of attraction the IT tycoon would be pleased to see.

Ranadive's vision is based on reading the future of basketball businesses and creating computing solutions in India.

He has not played the game, but has the acumen as he coached his daughter Anjali’s U.S. school team to the state title.

The Kings' owner is using technology to enhance fan access to games, retain fan loyalty and develop his team’s fan base across continents.

Setting up NBA India in 2011 was a boon as the step saw more academies across the nation with modern training facilities. By conducting tournaments at the local level, aspiring Indian hoopsters were given a platform to showcase their talent.

There won't be any Indian on court when the Kings face Pacers. But, the NBA India Games 2019 is another step in the right direction, with Ranadive trying to bridge the link between Indians and NBA.