MUMBAI: The Reliance Foundation and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced a new project to install basketball hoops in more than 50 schools across Mumbai as part of their joint commitment to developing basketball infrastructure in India and to facilitate access to the game.
This marks the next step in the partnership between the two organizations, which launched the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program in 2013 and has taught basketball and the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle to nearly 150,000 youth across two Indian cities. The program will expand to six cities in 2014.
NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas of the Sacramento Kings, traveling to India on behalf of the NBA to help grow the game, was on hand to help tip off the first stage of the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program’s Basketball Hoops Infrastructure project, which included hosting a youth clinic at the IES school in Dadar. Isaiah will be part of several basketball initiatives across the city designed to inspire youth to play and to grow the NBA’s fanbase.
“This is my first visit to India, and I am really excited to see the passion for basketball here that I have been hearing about,” said Thomas. “NBA India and the Reliance Foundation are doing a great job in the development and promotion of the sport here, and I look forward to helping them as much as possible.”
This basic infrastructure will give thousands of youth across Mumbai access to the game year- round, further allowing them to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
“The progress under the Reliance Foundation Jr NBA program in reaching approximately 150,000 youth through in-school and after school programs has been very satisfying. The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program is now providing the basic infrastructure needed to play the game of basketball,” said Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, Reliance Foundation. “By installing these hoops, hundreds of thousands of Indian youth can play the game together and help grow the game throughout India.” “This is the next step in our partnership with the Reliance Foundation as we continue to grow basketball across India,” said Yannick Colaco, Managing Director, NBA India. “Since our partnership last year, the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has integrated basketball into the school level and helps promote a healthy and active lifestyle to Indian youth.”
The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has featured more than 5,000 in-school basketball sessions and hosted 11 after-school basketball locations. The international coaches, appointed by the NBA to implement the program, have trained more than 300 physical education instructors. Each local coach received a “Basketball in a Bag,” which contained a localized coaching guide, cones, whistles, a stopwatch, posters, and an air pump. In addition, more than 5,000 basketballs have been provided to participating schools in order to give youth an opportunity to learn and enjoy the game.