50 schools in Mumbai are about to get a whole lot hoopier - and happier - very soon.
The NBA and the Reliance Foundation made this announcement with Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas in attendance, who has been in Mumbai and Chennai to help promote the game of basketball in India.
This is set to be the first stage of NBA and Reliance's Basketball Hoops Infrastructure project, which also included hosting a youth clinic at the IES School in Dadar, Mumbai. The NBA and Reliance Foundation teamed up last year to launch the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Programme, which reached hundreds of thousands of youth and hundreds of schools in Mumbai and Kochi (as well as the rest of Kerala) in its first season last year. The programme is set to expand to six Indian cities this year.
Here are some quotes from the announcement, via IndianTelevision.com:
"This is my first visit to India, and I am really excited to see the passion for basketball here that I have been hearing about," said Isaiah Thomas, "NBA India and the Reliance Foundation are doing a great job in the development and promotion of the sport here, and I look forward to helping them as much as possible."
"The progress under the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA programme in reaching approximately 150,000 youth through in-school and after school programs has been very satisfying," said Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, Reliance Foundation, "The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Programme is now providing the basic infrastructure needed to play the game of basketball. By installing these hoops, hundreds of thousands of Indian youth can play the game together and help grow the game throughout India."
"This is the next step in our partnership with the Reliance Foundation as we continue to grow basketball across India," said Yannick Colaco, Managing Director, NBA India. "Since our partnership last year, the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has integrated basketball into the school level and helps promote a healthy and active lifestyle to Indian youth."
Congrats young Mumbaikars. Not all basketball lovers in India have close access to good courts: I hope you all make the most of this opportunity!