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A North American pro sports league first: NBA to play preseason games in Mumbai, India

Ever since Vivek Ranadive bought the Sacramento Kings in 2013, he has wanted to play a game in India where he was born.

Ranadive’s wish will come true.

The Kings will play the Indiana Pacers in two preseason games on Oct. 4-5 at NSCI Dome in Mumbai, marking the first time a North American pro sports league will play games in India.

“As an Indian-American, it is an honor to help bring this historic moment to the country where I was raised,” Ranadive said in a statement.

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum traveled to Mumbai to make the announcement on Thursday.

“Our inaugural NBA India Games will help further untap the enormous basketball potential in a country with a thriving sports culture and a growing, young and engaged population,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

The NBA prizes its growth in India. The population and growing middle class has generated grassroots and business opportunities for the league.

The league opened an office in Mumbai in 2011 and the NBA Academy India in 2017 for elite youth prospects. More than 350 NBA games are televised on multiple channels in India, including 78 with Hindi commentary.

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