May 4, 2010
Mumbai: India's Basketball City
The results are in... Judging on the overall basis of the amount of talent produced, major tournaments held, those that play host to the most famous/succesful teams, those with the most illustrious history in basketball, or those with the most number of diehard hoop fans, Hoopistani officially crowns the Maximum City Mumbai as the India's Basketball City.
A little more than a week ago, I asked Indian basketball fans to submit their nominations and arguments for India's Basketball City, to help decide which one city in our country most embodies the spirit of hoops. Which was the Capital of Hoopistan!? The result was overwhelming response on the blog, on facebook and to Basketball India as well.
Some of the favourites were:
Chennai: The capital of Tamil Nadu, and hope of the highly successful Tamil Nadu basketball association, boasts a great number (18) of professional teams that offer jobs to basketball players, such as IOB, Indian Bank, Chennai Customs, Southern Railway, Tamil Nadu Police, and others. The city features numerous tournaments, and has contributed great players to the national scene such as Mathew Sathya Babu, S. Robinson, Jeena Zachria, Geethu Anna Jose, Anitha, etc. Chennai was also the host of the 2009 FIBA Asia Women's Championship.
Varanasi: My hometown, and of the cradles of hoop talents across the nation. From just a few courts in Varanasi there have come some of the strongest talents for India, which have included former Cager's captain Trideep Rai, current captain Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Mihir Pandey, and in the women's section, the four talented sisters of V-Town's Singh Family, which are former captain Divya Singh, current captain Prashanti Singh, Akanksha Singh, and Pratima Singh.
Bangalore: And in my mention of Bangalore, I will also add the nearby village of Tumkur, home of the Sumpoorna Basketball Movement. No doubt, a lot of basketball is played in Karnataka: from national team camps featuring the best of Indian talent to the biggest grassroots basketball movement in the country in the form of the SABAL league.
New Delhi: I received a lot of support for the nation's capital, which happens to have some of the most die-hard hoop fans in the country as well as features great talents and professional teams. Delhi continues to uphold it's high reputation of quality college-level basketball.
Honourable mention goes to places such as Baroda, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Sikar, Coimbatore, Calicut, Kapurthala, and Lucknow.
But there could only be one winner... and that is our very own maximum city, Mumbai. You want tournaments? Mumbai never stops playing basketball, hosting tournaments and camps all year round. from the RMBT, to the Mahindra-NBA Challenge, or the Andheri-YMCA Tournament, the Mastan league, and the Bandra/Ghatkopar tournaments, just to name a few. You want fans? 100s of hoop fanatics show up to attend and participate in each of the basketball challenge, highlighted by the amazing interest show in the Mahindra-NBA league. Mumbai is always in the news for hosting camps and basketball events. And the city has some of the best new basketball infrastructure and facilities, including newly inaugurated bball courts. Celebrities get in the act, too, participating and promoting the sport of basketball.
In the end though, the real winner is INDIA. It was amazing to collect all this information because it proved the fact that interest in basketball is well on its way up, and is bound to grow further. The fact that the cities featured from all four corners of the country also proved that basketball has succesfully spread across the breadth of India. Healthy competition between different parts of the nation will only help to improve our overall quality.
Now that we have a list of our most basketball-crazed cities, isn't it time we start a national league?
Keep ballin, India!