NBA's Kings vs. Pacers to Be 1st-Ever American Pro Sports Games Played in India

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2018

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2016, file photo, Vivek Ranadive, the majority owner of the Sacramento Kings, poses in the new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. The Kings are expected to bid on hosting the 2022 or 2023 NBA All-Star Game. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers will play two preseason games in India prior to the 2019-20 season.

According to a press release received by CNN's Jillian Martin, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum officially announced the games Thursday.

The preseason contests between the Kings and Pacers will mark the first time a North American pro sports league has held games in India.

Sacramento and Indiana will clash at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai on October 4 and 5.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is an India native who has wanted to hold a game in India since buying the Kings in 2013, per Zillgitt.

"As an Indian-American, it is an honor to help bring this historic moment to the country where I was raised," Ranadive said.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also commented on the games, saying, "Our inaugural NBA India Games will help further untap the enormous basketball potential in a country with a thriving sports culture and a growing, young and engaged population."

Ranadive has been a key figure in increasing the NBA's popularity in India, and he believes it is an important part of the NBA's global initiative: "The sport is experiencing tremendous growth in India, and we are excited about continuing to expand the NBA's reach to fans across the globe. The world wants to watch basketball, and India is a fast-growing new frontier."

India is the latest host in a long line of international NBA games over the past several seasons.

Preseason games have been held in China, Brazil, Taiwan, the Philippines and several other countries, while regular-season games have taken place in England, Mexico and Japan.

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