Originally published 25 Jan, 2011 on Sportskeeda
The Mahindra NBA Challenge is making the rounds in India. It’s second season is underway in Delhi and Mumbai, and Season 3 is coming soon. Mr. Akash Jain, (Sr. Director, Business Development & Partnerships, NBA India) took the time to answer some questions about the Challenge.
Siddarth Sharma: In Mahindra NBA Challenge, besides the matches and contests, are any clinics involved where players are taught to play?
Akash Jain: During the inaugural Mahindra NBA Challenge in 2010 the NBA conducted over 100 coaching and player clinics across three cities. NBA All-Stars Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol conducted clinics for league participants this past summer as well.
We are continuing this tradition during the second season and have already seen participation increase by 25%. The clinics and league programs are helping grow grassroots participation and also improving the standard of playing and coaching in India.
Siddarth Sharma: What are the on court basketball contests planned?
Akash Jain: The Mahindra NBA Challenge has various on court activities designed to engage participants and fans. Participants have the opportunity to win exciting NBA prizes through activities such as dunk contests, shooting contests and skills contests.
Mahindra will conduct various on-court contests to engage fans from local communities. These include a “Hoop-a-Holiday” shooting contest where fans compete to win a free weekend getaway at a Club Mahindra resort and a “Electrify the Court,” contest which will provide fans a chance to win a free week-long test drive of its new electric car, Reva.
Siddarth Sharma: Who are the NBA Legend and WNBA players attending this event? Will both of them attend the challenge at Mumbai and Delhi?
Akash Jain: The NBA Legend and WNBA player will travel to both cities and will be announced in the near future.
Siddarth Sharma: Are the NBA Cares initiatives incorporated with the Mahindra Challenge?
Akash Jain: Through NBA Cares we have refurbished four basketball courts in India to date, including several courts in Mumbai which have hosted the Mahindra NBA challenge.
These are the first in a series of courts the NBA plans to build across India to facilitate access to the game. Both NBA Cares and the Mahindra NBA Challenge strive to promote healthy, active lifestyles through basketball participation.
Siddarth Sharma: Any word on season three? About the states where it’s planned to expand to?
Akash Jain: We are pleased with the success the program has experienced during season two and plan to bring the league back to the current five cities in season three. We will continue to collaborate with the BFI and Mahindra to identify potential additional cities for expansion.
Siddarth Sharma: In an earlier interview with Troy Justice (Director of NBA operations in India) he mentioned Jr. NBA/WNBA programs designed to grow basketball at the school level. What are these programs about?
Akash Jain: Jr. NBA/WNBA is the league’s international youth program that promotes basketball development and an active lifestyle among children. The Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA India program, which will launch this Spring, will focus on growing basketball in schools, introducing the game to more youth and providing world-class training to Indian coaches.
So along with season 3 of Mahindra NBA Challenge, we also have the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA India programs to look forward to in the coming year. Let’s wait and watch to see which cities are next to host the events.