The Journey of Indian Basketball


From the time James Naismith invented basketball in the year 1891, the sport has never looked back for people not participating in it. Basketball, a sport that initially served as an indoor activity for students, quickly gained popularity and became one of the peoples favorite.

The sport started with colleges, moved on to states and was eventually played far and wide, across the world. Thanks to the establishment of the International Basketball Federation(FIBA) in 1932 and the National Basketball Association(NBA) in 1946, people around the world had an opportunity to witness players of the highest standard compete with each other. NBA which had limited restriction for broadcast when it was first introduced, gained an increased viewership to 215 countries, in about 50 languages.
India entered into the world of basketball in the 1930s under the colonial rule and became a member of FIBA in 1936. So far India has produced 1 Indian-born player(Satnam Singh) and 1 player of Indian descent(Sim Bhullar) to the NBA. 2 other players have had an opportunity to play in the minor leagues of the NBA.


Indian Men’s Basketball team

Indian Women’s Basketball team

India accepted and conducted basketball in the early 1930s. The Indian national basketball team entered the international competition in 1936 when it became a member of the International Basketball Federation. The Basketball Federation of India(BFI) came to shape in 1950 with Poonam Mahajan as the first president of the governing body.

Indians fantasized and learned to appreciate the game because of the athleticism, fast scoring, and intense activity on the court throughout the whole match.
It is considered one of the widely played sport in India today. India is among the very few countries to adopt the game and help to increase the popularity of it to every corner of the country.

Today, basketball is played in most high schools, colleges, universities. Youngsters in India have taken it up as a challenge and have a fighting spirit to come up in the field of basketball. A huge number of male and female basketball players of all ages and abilities have a special interest in the sport and want to take their talent to the next level.

There are many tournaments held in schools and colleges from the Junior level to the Higher Level. Many government institutions have the best players from the country as part of their professional basketball team who also work for the Institution. There have been various upcoming platforms such a Sportelos Game On which help in following the game from anywhere and keep everybody updated. Platforms like this are the reason the progress of the sport has a wide audience through social media.

The NBA collaborated with India on Tracks(IoT) in 2017 to form NBA basketball schools to train kids and make them play at the highest level. There are more than 10 centers running actively in the country. The First-ever NBA basketball game was played in 2019 as part of the NBA India games(Pre-season) in the NSCI Dome in Mumbai on the 4th and 5th of October 2019 between the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers.

India basketball has shown tremendous performance at the International level and many men and women players have won awards at the national level. The Indian Basketball team has a total of 17 players honored with the Arjuna Award and 2 players honored with the Dhyan Chand award of lifetime achievement by the Government of India.

Sim Bhullar was the First player of Indian Descent in the NBA drafted by the Sacramento Kings
Satnam Singh was the first Indian Born Player in the NBA drafted by the Dallas Mavericks