NBA India Games 2019: Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings to lock horns in Mumbai

The two NBA teams will play each other in two pre-season games in Mumbai in October, 2019.

Nate McMillan...“We want to draw the Indian fans in, so we will go out there and try to entertain everyone on the court.”   -  AP (File Photo)

In October this year, history will be made when the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings face each other in two pre-season games in Mumbai. This will mark the first NBA games to take place in India.

World-class basketball action awaits fans at the NBA India Games 2019, which will take place on October 4 and 5 at NSCI Dome.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan believes that these are exciting times for basketball in India. “The Pacers ownership team, the players and the coaching staff are all very excited about showcasing NBA basketball to Indian fans. Both owners — Herb Simon (Indiana Pacers) and Vivek Ranadive (Sacramento Kings) — were keen to bring NBA basketball to India, and so was the NBA,” McMillan said here.

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McMillan expects both Pacers and Kings to compete hard. “We want to draw the Indian fans in, so we will go out there and try to entertain everyone on the court. The pre-season games are important, as it serves as training ahead of the regular season. We will use our starters, but all of our guys will get some playing time, too. Off the court, we will participate in community events. We want to conduct some clinics, where we can teach our style of play to young players,” he said.

‘High-energy team’

Pacers’ star centre Myles Turner is keen to make the trip to India.

“Basketball does not belong just to the United States. It’s a global sport. It will be my first time in India; it’s always cool to discover new cultures. The biggest thing for me will be to interact with the locals, and to experience Indian culture,” Turner said.

Asked what fans can expect from the Pacers, Turner said, “We are [a] high-energy team, which takes pride in our defence. We will bring this same ethic to Mumbai.”

Rick Fuson, President and COO, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, said, “I know that basketball is popular in India. The people there are quite knowledgeable about the sport. I’m sure that they can easily differentiate between a good and bad play. As for the entertainment acts like our dancers and slam dunk showmen, Mumbai can expect to see the same things that you see in games held in the United States.”

(The writer is in Indianapolis on invitation from NBA)

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