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Pau Gasol in Mumbai and Delhi from Aug. 23 to 28

852   //    18 Aug 2010, 13:35 IST

Mumbai, Aug. 18Pau Gasol, a two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion and a three-time All-Star, will travel to Mumbai and Delhi from Aug. 23 to 28 to further the growth of basketball and the NBA in the world’s second-largest nation.  This is the first time a reigning NBA champion will travel to India to conduct events on the NBA’s behalf.

The league is in the midst of hosting a record number of events in India this summer. Gasol, a member of the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, is the second NBA superstar to visit India this month following Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard’s visit to Bangalore and Delhi from Aug. 10 to 14.

“I have always wanted to visit India and I am very excited to represent the Lakers and the NBA in a country where basketball is on the rise,” said Gasol.  “As an international player in the NBA, I know how important it is to do my part to grow the game globally and would love to compete against a player from India in the NBA one day.”

Gasol will make appearances with the Larry O’Brien Trophy to take photos with fans in Mumbai and Delhi.  This will be the first time that the trophy will be in India.  He will also conduct clinics in Mumbai on Aug. 26 for participants of the Mahindra NBA Challenge, the league’s first community-based basketball league in India, which tipped off in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Ludhiana this summer and attracted thousands of participants, including top players from each city.

“The Mahindra NBA Challenge has received a warm reception in Indian communities and we are thrilled to welcome world champion Pau Gasol to help train basketball players in India,” said MAHINDRA EXEC.”  “We are working with the NBA to grow basketball in communities across India and the instruction provided by such accomplished NBA players will improve the level of play in India dramatically.”

This past season, the NBA enjoyed its broadest reach ever in India through television and digital technology.  Unprecedented customized content, including a behind-the-scenes mini-series live from the NBA Finals on Ten Sports, and the launch of and Facebook pages for the NBA in India and the Mahindra NBA Challenge has helped grow the league’s presence in India. To continue this momentum, Gasol will become the first NBA player to host a live fan chat on during his trip.

Gasol will also conduct an NBA Cares clinic on Aug. 28 in Delhi at Father Angel School in Gautam Nagar, a missionary school that serves underprivileged communities. NBA Cares is the league’s social responsibility platform and these clinics will continue the NBA’s commitment to using the sport of basketball to engage communities and promote healthy, active lifestyles.

“Giving youth in India the unique chance to step onto a court and learn from a reigning two-time NBA champion will inspire more athletes to play the game of basketball,” said NBA President of International Heidi Ueberroth. “Pau is a great ambassador for the NBA and his visit is part of our continued efforts to work with our partners to increase participation in communities throughout India.”

“Our goal is to increase basketball participation and improve the level of play in India and we are thrilled that the NBA shares our long term commitment to accomplish these goals,” said BFI Secretary General Harish Sharma.”  “Our collaboration with the NBA has generated a tremendous amount of interest for the sport in India, including the recent visit of All-Star Dwight Howard, and the arrival of NBA world champion Pau Gasol will help popularize the game even further.”

The NBA has marketing partnerships in India with adidas, Coca-Cola, EA SPORTS, HP, Mahindra, Nike, Planet Sports, Reebok, and Spalding.  NBA merchandise is sold in 120 adidas stores throughout the country and the league opened the first-ever NBA shops within adidas stores in India earlier this month.  These new shops – one in Bangalore and one in Delhi – will carry the most comprehensive assortment of NBA merchandise in India.

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