February 26, 2017

Orlando Magic celebrate India Day 2017 with Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty

The most important thing for the home fans at the Amway Center on Saturday night was that they got the win. The Orlando Magic, the second-worst team in the Eastern Conference, played one of their best games of the season, running past the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks to a 105-86 victory. New addition Terrance Ross from Toronto led his squad with 24. High-flying dunker Aaron Gordon added 18. Point guard Elfrid Payton even nearly had a triple-double. On-court, it was as good a night that the suffering Magic fanbase could've hoped for.

The bonus on this Saturday night was how the Magic scored an off-court victory - desi-style.

The Indian-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) continued their annual tradition in Orlando by hosting one more edition of 'India Day' at the Amway Center on Saturday, February 25. This was their fifth consecutive celebration of Indian heritage and culture with the local basketball team and after their win over the Celtics last year, the desi blessings helped the Magic pull off some jadoo on the court this year, too.

The big highlight at India Day this year was the special guest, the Indian film actress, producer, and former model Shilpa Shetty. Shetty was introduced to the fans at the game and also presented with a custom Orlando Magic jersey.

The night featured an 'India Day' fan-fest in Downtown Orlando and entertainment by Bollywood Dance Mania and even the Orlando Magic Dancers performed a routine in traditional Bollywood style. Fans were also able to take part in fun events such as cultural dancing, saree draping, yoga and Indian cuisine tasting. (So basically, all the usual desi cultural stereotypes that we're supposedly proud of).

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said, "India Day is just one way for the Magic to show to show its appreciation to this segment of our fan base for their support and dedication."

Great job for Orlando and the IACC for continuing with this tradition: it's about time more franchises around the league recognise the growing clout (and basketball fandom) of the Indian diaspora.