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Sacramento King player to promote basketball in India

Washington (PTI): Popular American basketball player Isaiah Thomas of Sacramento King team owned by an Indian American would travel to Mumbai and Chennai to promote basketball in the country, a media release has said.

“I am honoured to be representing the Kings and the entire NBA (National basketball Association) in India this offseason and will do whatever I can to help grow the game here by inspiring children,” Thomas said in a statement.

Thomas marks the 31st NBA or WNBA player or legend to travel to India since 2006 to help grow the game following All-Stars such as Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard.

“We are extremely excited to have a member of the Sacramento Kings visit India this summer, and Isaiah’s passion for the game and the community makes him a great ambassador for the sport in India,” said Vivek Ranadive, owner of Sacramento King.

During the past season, more than 20 Kings games were broadcast on Sony SIX, including a live broadcast of the Kings opening night.

The Kings were also the first team to launch a dedicated Hindi website.

“One of the key aspects of my NBA 3.0 vision is deepening the global imprint of basketball and India is a prime example of this.

Basketball is rapidly becoming one of India’s most popular sports, second only to cricket, and interest in the game is expanding every day.

I also have no doubt that India will one day become a hotbed of NBA-caliber talent,” Ranadive said.

During his stay in India, Thomas will conduct several basketball clinics at schools and community organisations across Mumbai and Chennai.

In addition to providing in-depth Finals analysis for fans in India on Sony SIX, on June 7, Thomas will conduct the first-ever Google hangout to promote the official NBA online store in India, NBAStore.in.

“Isaiah’s visit to India coincides with The Finals, an important opportunity to grow the NBA’s fanbase in India,” said Yannick Colaco, managing director of NBA India.

Thomas will also be on-hand to tip off the first stage of the Reliance Foundation Jr NBA’s Basketball Hoops Infrastructure project.

Reliance Foundation and NBA India have partnered to install basketball hoops at schools across Mumbai.

Thomas will be joined by celebrity VJ and television star Rannvijay Sing, who will train with Thomas, learn what it takes to be a professional basketball player, and show him the best food Mumbai has to offer, the media announcement said.

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