Kings games in Mumbai, India key to Vivek Ranadive's ‘vision of NBA 3.0'


SACRAMENTO -- It took five years of extensive planning, but Kings owner Vivek Ranadive got what was promised to him.

On Dec. 20, 2018, the NBA announced that the Kings and the Indiana Pacers would play two preseason games in Mumbai, India, in October.

The games in Ranadive's hometown were something NBA commissioner Adam Silver promised him back in 2014. The two even made a trip to India together soon after Silver became commissioner.

"[Adam Silver] and I spoke about it all the time, and it took a lot of planning, a lot of effort," Ranadive told NBC Sports California in an interview before the Kings and the Warriors tipped off Saturday night at Golden 1 Center. "The NBA has had a presence in India and in Bombay. We opened an Academy in Delhi. So, the NBA has come through on every promise it has made, and there’s a lot of work that went into it."

Ranadive is thinking big picture with the games in India, and he hopes the impact is vast.

"This is my vision of NBA 3.0, where basketball really becomes the premier sport of the 21st century," Ranadive said. "And capturing the hearts and minds of a billion Indians is key to that."

If you're wondering how the Pacers were picked as the opponent for the two games, it's a simple answer, and something that has been in the works since Ranadive became Kings owner in 2013.

"When I came into the league," Ranadive said. "The owner of the Pacers, Herb Simon, who’s a huge fan of India, he came to me and said, 'I know you’re gonna go to India one day, so you have to promise me you’ll take me with you.' "

While Mumbai was picked for the two games, Ranadive said Delhi, the capital of India, was looked at a possible venue, and other cities will be discussed in the future.

"We’d consider any place where we can put on a good show," Ranadive said.

Ranadive hopes the young Kings players find the trip "enriching and highly educational," and said there will be some sightseeing on the trip.

"A trip to India wouldn’t be complete with a trip to the Taj," Ranadive said.

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