The Mahindra-NBA Challenge, which held its finals on June 6, saw participation of more than a 1,000 players, Ravi Ved reports
The Mahindra-NBA Challenge –India’s first multi-city league – that started in April this year, came to an awe-inspiring climax on June 6. The eight-week tournament saw more than a 1,000 participants with players travelling from as far as Pune and Nagpur. Nearly 32 teams participated and there were more than 100 games played in this duration over the weekends.
Troy Justice, Head of Basketball Operations in India, said, “Through this league, we start from the grassroots level to search for all forms of talent when it comes to the sport.” With the aid of Troy, the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) aims for development by conducting camps, training sessions not just for the players but also for the coaches.
The team names were actual NBA league names – classified by under 15 and 18 for boys and girls. In the under 15 boys’ finals, Boston Celtics beat Cleveland Cavaliers by a comfortable margin of 20 points with the final scores of 30-10. In under 15 girls, Atlanta Hawks won the tournament after a tough game with Boston Celtics by a nominal difference of 2 points. Under 18 boys, LA Lakers and Denver Nuggets made it to the finals, with the former being beaten by 8 points. The ALL STAR games, with 16 best players of the league battling it out to be the best. The south was beaten by the north by boys as well as girls.
Bollywood actress Neetu Chandra made a guest appearance at the event. “It is a great platform for young players to start their careers and display their talent in the sport,” she said.
On being asked about the growth of Basketball in India, Troy smiled and added, “Sky is the limit.” NBA, Mahindra and BFI are looking for serious development of the sport with a similar league which will tip-off in Bengaluru coming July.