A few years ago I wrote a piece titled “If schools leagues exist, can colleges be far behind?” They are upon us now. With the third year of BFI’s leagues in association with IMG Reliance, this year it has spread to six cities, up from four from last year. Delhi, Ludhiana (with teams from Amritsar and Patiala), Mumbai (with teams from Pune), Chennai, Bangalore, and Kolkata.
Typically these school/college leagues involve around 15 teams. The state finals will probably be played in an indoor stadium. The top three players from each city will receive cash prizes. And the winning teams from each city will participate in the national finals.A few years ago I wrote a piece titled “If schools leagues exist, can colleges be far behind?” They are upon us now. With the third year of BFI’s leagues in association with IMG Reliance, this year it has spread to six cities, up from four from last year. Delhi, Ludhiana (with teams from Amritsar and Patiala), Mumbai (with teams from Pune), Chennai, Bangalore, and Kolkata.
National finals seem to be the byword this year. The Mahindra NBA Challenge is doing it this year for the first time, at Delhi between October 4-7. Jordan’s teammate Luc Longley will be present for that. The NBA 3X will have national finals in Mumbai on Oct 21. And now the BFI school/college leagues are having one as well.
With the Mahindra NBA Challenge and BFI’s leagues being concentrated in central India, this is the first time they have extended to Kolkata. I made this map earlier to point out how Kolkata is being excluded and we can’t possibly be justified in calling it the national finals if the competition doesn’t extend eastwards even a little.
Well its here now. Sometime in the next two months.
Creating a platform for developing talent is all about providing incentives. The focus here and everywhere else seemingly is grassroots development. Besides giving the teams an opportunity to showcase their talents, these leagues will also give the educational institutes an incentive to improve the standard of basketball among their pupils.
There’s a lot of publicity earned for the institute with a city league, even more is in the offing with the prospect of national finals.The players have an incentive to improve their game to prove their mettle to everyone. They have a reason to focus on sports along with their studies. The institutes have an incentive to develop the basketball grounds in their premises. They have a reason to use/deploy a sports quota to fish out the best talent. The students can sweat it out on the field knowing that their sweat may just let them wade their way into a top notch college, excuse the image of a baller swimming through a sea of sweat for glory.
How far off can a professional league be now? Let me say the magic words, If college leagues exist, can a pro league be far behind?
Hopefully a couple of years down the line I’ll look back at that and write another piece titled: If pro leagues exist, can an all India state league be far behind?
Talk about counting chickens before they hatch.
I don’t even let them incubate before counting the next batch.
Don’t even wait for them to mate
before dreaming of an inter state
even before a pro league can abate.
Way I see the state, never too late to sate
the appetite for hoop craze, whatever be the date.
Such craze it has me twisting words in ways to daze
while counting down the days unfazed
by the twists and turns of the maze,
of bureaucratic byways, being so erratic and lazed.
But our sneakers are automatically laced
even with just a whiff of new wave
sweeping across the nation to pave
for the day
we can say…
Up yours cricket and football! Basketball is here to stay!