Basketball: Not a basket Case in India Yet

Posted on June 18, 2010

Irfan Mohamed:

Basketball, a cup of tea for the Europeans and Americans. As a sport for Indians I would rather state it to be a mere spectacle. Indeed our establishment on the British grounds always captures our priority for Cricket. Even the dazzling Bollywood Cinema had cast a spell with the “Gentle man’s sport” Cricket in movies like Lagaan. Right from the lesser year old ones to the teens, one would literally be willing to martyr acquiring a Cricket kit.

TRADITION is the right label that could be applied to Cricket. That’s the force holding the impulse of India, instead of it being an expensive sport. But that doesn’t mean the others will allow basking in the background. It is important that we need to encourage other sports to nurture an all community unity and to promote a healthy lifestyle to Indian youth. The revolutionary event for the sport of basketball is the launch of Mahindra NBA challenge which marks an innovative move in the way of sponsorship from the entrepreneur group Mahindra.

Trailblazing Mahindra NBA Challenge

The aim of BFI (Basketball Federation in India) is to nurture the sport as a popular game in the Indian sub-continent. Krishnan Muthukumar drew a gobsmacking number of 500 players for the first time in our sports history, who played in a league in a city. But the BFI is facing an obvious problem to acquire funds. And now, thanks to Mahindra Group for raising the number of basketball wanna-bes in India.

With an open invite to the Indian chunk of young ones, it scoops out talent right from various nooks and cranies. It’s obvious that this NBA challenge has started pioneering the way for a healthy life style for basketball and a competitive environment to show case our skills in our hometown. The “commandments” of BFI are to nurture the skill from the grassroots, to raise the efficiency through coaching and to develop the sport in the Sub-Continent.


The ball game, Basketball takes its roots in North America. A profound knowledge of that ball game exists from 10 BC, widely spoken in the writings of John Lloyd Stephens, an American Explorer who witnessed the Central America ruined by the civil war. The ruined cities somehow drove him to explore Mayan civilization. Accompanied by his companion, an Architect and the Draftsmen Frederick Catherwood he produced the evidence of the basketball, being invented by Mesoamericans. The drawings, by Frederick Catherwood were available at most of the Educational Institutions.

Team Sport

Two teams consisting of 5 players try to score points against each other by shooting the ball into the basketball hoop of their rivals. The beauty of the game is its equipments. All you need is a flat, rectangular surface with baskets at the opposite sides. When it comes to competitive levels, clocks, score sheets, scoreboards, alternating possession arrows, and whistle-operated stop-clock systems plays a vital role. Moreover it’s a game for all of the community because it does not require space or expenditure as does cricket. One successful shot carries 3 points. One shot needs organisation, Team playing, Team support and an extensive skill. “Foul”, an attempt to overwhelm the opponent by physical contact indeed makes the game more challenging and brain teasing.

The ball should stay within the court. The last team that touches the ball before it travels out of the bounds forfeits possession. The ball is out of bounds if it touches or crosses over the boundary line, which is a contrary regulation from the netball, or volleyball. The game is controlled by a crew consisting of a “Crew chief” or a Referee, Table officials and a two more referees or the “crew chiefs”.

While the Referee commands the procession of the game, the Table officials keeps track of the team scoring, fouls including player and individual fouls, timekeeping, player substitutions and shot clock.

Olympic Sport

The list of Olympic sports published in 1936, declared Basketball as an Olympic Sport. The History drives us back to 1904, when it was played as a tournament as an outdoor game and apparently had been a “Demonstrated Olympic sport”. Officially it was approved an Olympic sport only by 1936. Today, basketball is the most viewed sport globally. Sports is an elixir, especially basketball is a popular game that promotes the lifestyle of the Occidental.

Scope in India

The unique regulations of the game speak for itself that have drawn spectators across the globe. Sponsorship is just the only ingredient lacking to nurture this wonderful sport in India. Mahindra NBA Challenge has increased the basketball wannabees, due to its generous back up of the leagues in cities as Mumbai. This is the curtain opener for “corporate awareness” towards funding the game.

A cost-effective, community- based recreation sport NBA aims at tending and developing the game as one of the most popular sport in India. After a few years, it would be no wonder to see children and adults playing street basketball as common as one would see cricket nowadays.

The Mahindra group has yielded fruits at Mastan YMCA, in women’s division too. Let us wait for the challenge that takes begins at Bangalore on 17th July and Ludhiana on 31st July.

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