The National Basketball Association (NBA) of America has announced that it will be opening an NBA Academy in the National Capital Region (NCR) of India in April 2017.
This academy will train and recruit the best male and female prospects in the sport from around the country and will be fully funded by NBA.
The elite training school will be the first of its kind in India and the fifth NBA Academy in the world, following the opening of three such academies in China earlier this year.
NBA will conduct a national scouting programme beginning next month, in order to select the first pool of talent – 24 in all – in the age group of 14-18. The prospects will receive scholarships and training at the NBA Academy. Academic education of the candidates will be conducted in partnership with schools. The selection will be finalised by February 2017.
NBA is also in the process of recruiting coaches, scouts and consultants to staff the academy and instruct the talent.
The students from the academy will play against top domestic and international teams and the most promising players will find a place in the NBA Global Academy.
The global academy was recently established in Canberra, Australia to act as an international hub for training the most talented prospects from around the world.
“It will be the largest ever investment made by NBA globally in elite development centre. We have identified about six facilities in NCR already but it may take 30-45 days more to finalise the centre…NBA Academy India will help us identify and develop elite homegrown prospects and shape the next generation of national players,” said NBA India MD, Yannick Colaco, at a media conference in Mumbai.
“Our mission with this academy is to develop and grow basketball in India…It’s focused on improving the level of the players on the national team and to really give a vision to Indian kids that there’s a chance and a pathway for them in basketball,” said NBA Vice President, International Basketball Operations, Brooks Meek.“The game has never been more popular in India. It is now the right time to set such academy to raise the level of basketball in India. It is an option for Indian kids to explore their talent,” he added.
In recent years, the Indian men’s basketball team defeated China in 2014 and 2016.
Satnam Singh from Punjab became the first player from India ever selected in the NBA draft; he currently plays for the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League.
With this announcement, NBA has shown that it is interested in the growth of basketball in India and tapping into the potential sporting talent of a nation of 1.3 billion people. NBA has already held more than 1500 grassroots events across India to reach 3.5 million youth and thousands of coaches and physical education teachers to build a network that will come in handy once it starts recruiting for the NBA Academy.