3rd season of Mahindra NBA Challenge launches in Delhi with Player Development Programme
The third season of the Mahindra NBA Challenge – the largest, multi-city, community-based basketball league in India – tipped off its New Delhi leg on March 16. Delhi is one of five cities where the league will be held this season, organised by the NBA, Mahindra, and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).
The Delhi leg of the Mahindra NBA Challenge will feature a new player development program called Generation adidas: 40 of the best players from the league (10 U16 boys, 10 U16 girls, 10 U13 boys, 10 U13 girls) will be selected to participate in two Generation adidas Clinics during the season in Delhi (14th and 26th April). The top eight players from his group will be selected from the clinics and will receive one year of specialized training and adidas basketball gear. Generation adidas will launch in each subsequent city with a goal of identifying and nurturing the next generation of basketball talent across the country.
For the first time, the Mahindra NBA Challenge will feature a National Championship which will take place in Delhi from October 4-7, 2012. The winning teams from the Senior and U18 divisions, for both Men and Women, in each city will travel to Delhi to compete for the championship and train with an NBA Legend!
According to Troy Justice, the Director of Basketball Operations for NBA-India, 121 teams have been signed up to take part in the league this year, which will last seven weeks. “There has definitely been a rise in interest for this league in Delhi,” said Justice, “The first season, we had 64 registered teams, the second season we had 90, and now we have 121. The response was so overwhelming that we had to put a further 167 teams in the waiting list this season!”
“I think that the Generation adidas programme adds a whole new layer to this programme,” Justice added, “By choosing the best young players to nurture and train at an early age, we can really help hone some great basketball talent in the city. I will be doing advanced clinics with these players and perhaps give them the type of training they haven’t received before. The players will receive year-round coaching from the NBA, by me and by other coaches that I have recruited, and they will also have access to interact with NBA players/legends for the training!”
Once a step behind some of the other major cities in terms of basketball in India, Justice believes that Delhi has a bright future in the game. “There are many more people interested in taking part in the competition in Delhi,” he said, “Last year, the MVP of the Delhi tournament was Narender Grewal: a young player who got good exposure through this championship and very soon, found himself in India’s Senior National team!”
Season three of the Mahindra NBA Challenge is taking place in five cities. The programme tipped off in Mumbai in November 2011, and following the Delhi stop, will be held in Kochi for the first time, and back in Bangalore and Ludhiana. The five-city league features eight divisions total for males and females: sub-junior for ages 12 to 13, youth for ages 14 to16, junior for ages 16 to 18 and adults ages 19 and over.