When I started watching the NBA in the mid-to-late 90s, the live games an on-court action was the top priority of course, but the off-the-court stories relating to the league were pretty interesting, too. The NBA's always done a masterful job at promoting the personalities of their players almost as much as they've promoted their physical talents. Although we only saw a limited number of live games in India, much of my early impressions of the league were shaped by 'NBA Inside Stuff' - the magazine show led by Ahmad Rashad ("My main man...") and the incredibly likeable Summer Sanders - that promoted the off-the-court lifestyle of NBA stars sprinkled in with the best highlights of the week.
double-header every day in India on Sony SIX this season.
So you would expect a return of NBA Inside Stuff to Indian TV, too right? Right... Sort of. The NBA and their official broadcast partners in India Sony SIX just announced that, starting tomorrow, Sunday March 2nd, a special 'India Edition' of NBA Inside Stuff will be launched in the country!
A press release from NBA India had the juicy details: For the first time in India, SONY SIX will launch a version of NBA Inside Stuff, the ground-breaking sports and entertainment all-access show, exclusively for audiences in India. The programme includes behind the scenes coverage of the NBA and its players along with highlights of the league’s activities in India.
India's version of the show will be hosted by Manish Nawani and Neelam Sivia. Nawani is an Indian actor who has appeared in a few TV serials on Zee TV and Channel V's The Buddy Project. He has a few films to his credit, too, including 2011's Shuttlecock Boys. Sivia is a model and actor who was in the Sony TV show Kya Hua Tera Vaada.
NBA Inside Stuff: India Edition is designed to be interactive with the fans of the game and will also act as a platform for sport enthusiasts to sample the best of the NBA as well as basketball in India.
Yannick Colaco, Managing Director, NBA India, said "Sony SIX is a great partner that continues to provide new ways to bring the NBA and the game of basketball to Indian audiences. This show will provide great insight into the NBA on and off the court, which will help lead to further viewership and generate greater involvement in the game among fans."
Personally, I'm quiet excited about this project and look forward to seeing what sort of 'Indian' elements Sony Six put out in the edition. Just having two Indian hosts and then cutting to scenes from the 'real' Inside Stuff isn't going to be enough. I'll be looking for a lot more focus on the NBA's efforts in growing the game in India and on basketball fan culture around our own country. Hopefully, the language and approach to the show is more desi, too. And would it be asking too much to hope for the NBA to feature Indian basketball players on the India edition every once in a while?