The last decade has seen a drastic increase in the participation of other sports than cricket in India. Since the success of the Indian Premier League in Cricket, Federations are coming up with similar tournaments across the Nation to attract talent, recognition and support- both in-country and Internationally. Achievements in Basketball, Hockey, Football, Badminton, Tennis and other Sports are not going unnoticed and unappreciated.
Basketball has been in India since the 1930’s. The National Basketball Championship for Men was the first major tournament to be conducted in 1934, New Delhi. The BFI- Basketball Federation of India was formed in 1950 and constantly sends the Indian Men and Women National teams for various Basketball tournaments across Asia and the World. India’s best performance came as a 4th place that they achieved in the 1975 FIBA Asia Championships. Furthermore, they participated in the 1980 Summer Olympics where they came 12th.
The National Basketball team has failed to qualify for the FIBA World Championships, 2019. However, recent years has seen steady progress. In April 2015, Sim Bhullar a Canadian of Indian descent made his professional debut in the NBA. Soon, Satnam Singh Bhamara became the first Indian to ever be selected in the NBA. He was the 52nd pick in the 2015 NBA draft for the Dallas Mavericks. He’d also be the first player to be drafted as a high school postgraduate.
Here is a list of top, major tournaments in India which develops Indian players and gives them the required exposure to play the game Internationally and Increase the chances of the Indian Team to qualify and play our first ever FIBA World Championships in 2023.
UBA Pro League
The United Basketball Alliance (UBA) is the first men’s professional basketball league in India; comprising eight teams. It is the premier men’s professional basketball league in India. Teams compete across two divisions and follow a league cum knock-out format. Mumbai Challengers, Delhi Capitals, Punjab Steelers and Haryana Gold comprise the North Division and Chennai Slam, Pune Peshwas, Bengaluru Beast and Hyderabad Sky make up the South Division. The UPA was inaugurated in 2015, follows the motto of ‘Developing talent within India and providing higher levels of competition’.
Chennai Slam won the UBA Championship in Season 1. Mumbai Challengers needed just two games to come out on top of Bengaluru Beast (winning 110-95 and 118-105) as they won their first UBA Championship in 2017.
The National Championships is the oldest Basketball tournaments in India. It is an annual professional basketball tournament in India. This tournament is held by the Basketball Federation of India. Every Basketball Player in India desires to win this prestigious trophy. The National Championships in India happens for different categories based on age- Junior Men and Women; Sub-Junior Men and Women; Senior Men and Women. It is a league cum knock-out format tournament.
The 68th Senior National Basketball Championship saw 31 teams participate and Tamil Nadu ran out as winners for the 10th time. Furthermore, Kerala Men And Tamil Nadu Women have won the 69th Junior National Basketball Championship in May 2018, Ludhiana.
The Federation Cup is one of the prestigious Basketball tournaments in India. The Annual tournament follows a League cum Knockout format between 9 teams every year. The top eight teams in the men’s and women’s section from the senior Nationals alongside the Host State compete against each other to win the tournament. Furthermore, winners of the men’s championship represent India in the Asian Champions Cup.
Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh hosted the 32nd Federation Cup between 1st and 6th May 2018. It saw 9 men and women Teams fight for the Prestigious Trophy. Kerala (women) and Indian Overseas Bank (Men) emerged the champions of the 32nd Federation Cup national basketball championship.
ISBL and ISCL
The ISBL and the ISCL are two new leagues to promote basketball at the grassroots levels in various schools and colleges in India. It is a self-sustaining structured system which serves the platform to increase organized basketball participation at grassroots level. Subsequently, this serves as the talent development system for the Indian National Teams. These leagues last for up to a period of around 6-8 weeks. Each team plays only one match every week since it is a league and not a tournament. Also, the School Leagues have certain regulations which help each and every player to get a good amount of playing time to showcase their talent. Firstly, it begins with the State Championship. Whose winners then participate in the Indian School & College Basketball Leagues – National Championship.
The number of teams participating in each League will be 16, except in case of Union territories where 8 teams in each group/section must participate. Teams are then divided into groups of 8 and follow the league cum knock-out format in both- state and national levels. Each team plays all the other teams in the group. Each team plays at least once per weak over a minimum of 6 week period. The age limit for participation in ICBL is under 25 years, whereas for ISBL it is under 19 years.
Different Federations, Governmental institutions or Educational Institutions are hosting various Invitational Tournaments. These Invitational tournaments are usually pan-India competitions ranging across all age groups in both Boys and Girls. All India Open Basketball tournament, YMCA Knights National Invitational Tournament, Master Prithvinath Memorial, Mulki Sunder Ram Shetty all India Basketball Tournament, Don Bosco Invitational Tournament, Ramu Memorial and JCI All India Basketball Tournament are a few major ones. Additionally, many tournaments in all parts of India have been organized every year.
India Ranks 63rd in the world and 12th in Asia, according to the FIBA World Ranking Men (July 2018). However, the sport has seen recent growth in the world, despite not qualifying for the 2019 World Championships.
Recent years has seen tremendous growth in the sport. The National Basketball Association has realized the immense potential of the sport in this large and growing market and is working hard with the Basketball Federation of India to expand the popularity of the sport. India on track (IOT) collaborated with NBA to form NBA Basketball Schools to train kids and teach them to play the NBA way. There are more than 12 centres running around the country from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and many more.