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1934: Basketball in India has existed since pre-independence. This was the year of the first national championship for men. Since then, approximately 64 Senior National Championships have been held in various different locations across the country in different categories [senior men, women, junior (u-19), youth (u-16) and sub junior (u-14)].
1936: Interestingly, India adopted basketball very soon after it emerged on the international stage – the International Basketball Federation or FIBA was formed in 1932. India became affiliated to FIBA in 1936.
1950: Basketball Federation of India, the governing sporting authority for basketball in India, is formed.
1961: The first Arjuna Award in basketball is conferred on men’s international Sarbjit Singh. The Arjuna Awards are handed out by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to recognise outstanding contribution to national sports. As many as 17 Indian basketball players have been conferred this prestigious honour. The latest awardee is current International woman player Geethu Anna Jose from Kerala who was recognised in August 2014. Out of the 17 Arjuna Awardees in basketball only two are women: prior to Geethu, Suman Sharma from Punjab had been awarded way back in 1983.
1965: India’s early appearance at the international stage at the 1965 Asian Championship, captained by the late Khushi Ram. Khushi Ram led the team at the 1967 and 1969 Asian Championships as well, and ended up as one of the tournament’s top scorers in all three editions. Not surprisingly, he is considered the ‘Scoring Machine of Asia’.
1975: India’s best performance at the Asian Championship with a 4th place finish.
1980: India plays in its first and only Summer Olympic Games. The team was captained by Paramjit Singh but unfortunately couldn’t win any of its seven matches. But in the final game against Australia, India famously led at halftime, thanks to the brilliance of 6ft 5 inch Karnal giant Ajmer Singh who averaged a whopping 21 points per game throughout the tournament.
2004: The JP Singh coached Indian men’s team beats Asian powerhouse South Korea. Puducherry superstar S Robinson was unstoppable and scores an astonishing 30 plus points.
- Basketball Federation of India (BFI) enters into a long term commercial arrangement with International Management Group (IMG)—Reliance conglomerate
- National school league is launched in two cities.
- Eight promising teenagers, four boys and four girls, are awarded IMG Reliance Basketball Scholarships at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Among these prospects is the 7ft 2 inch Satnam Singh Bhamara who has already been anointed the title of “Yao Ming of India.”
- India topples Korea again! This time the women surprise the Asian Giants during the William Jones Cup. This game will remain memorable for the hot hand of Prashanti Singh whose three pointers from all corners of the court took India to the 63-59 win.
- National School League expands to three cities
- BFI National College League is inaugurated in Delhi and Chennai
- The BFI National School and College League expands to five cities
- Sr Indian Women’s team bag gold in the 3rd 3X3 Asian Beach Games by beating China in the finals. Team comprised Geethu Anna Jose, Anitha Pauldurai, Shireen Limaye and Kiranjit Kaur.
- Indian Sr women win gold again, this time at the 1st FIBA Asia 3 X 3 Championships. Team comprised Railway veterans Geethu Anna Jose, Anitha Pauldurai, Manisha Dange and Delhi’s Pratima Singh.
- Double silver at the 1st FIBA Asia 3X3 for U-18 players in both the boys and girls division
- The School League expands to 8 cities and college league expands to six cities
- Indian women win a match at the elite Asian level 1 division for the first time in history by beating Kazakhstan
- Indian men’s team wins the gold medal beating 15th ranked Angola at the Lusofonia Games held in Goa
- First ever BFI-IMGR National Championships for the best School and College Teams from across India are held at Thyagaraj Stadium, New Delhi. All matches are recorded and uploaded freely on YouTube with exciting bilingual commentary.
- 61st ranked Sr Indian men’s team beats 12th ranked China in China during the 5th FIBA Asia Cup for the first time in its history!
- NBA team, Sacramento Kings, sign 7 foot 5 inches, 360-pound Canadian-Indian centre, Sim Bhullar. The New York Times, in a recent article, stated he "is poised to become the world's first prominent men's basketball player of Indian descent."
- BFI National School & College League was held from September ’14 to January ’15 and expanded to a whopping 20 states, across 22 cities. A staggering 16000+ players from 732 school teams and 544 college teams will participate. By 2016, the Indian School and College Leagues will have grown to 41 cities and over 30,000 participants. The dramatic rise of #indiabasketball will continue.
- The late BFI CEO Harish Sharma, who was instrumental in the tie up with BFI-IMGR in 2010 was also a point guard on the Indian team in the 1970s.
- India’s very own Asian All Stars! Yes, two players from South were adjudged among the finest talent in the whole of Asia: Thrissur’s Jayasankar Menon and Puducherry’s S Robinson. In fact Mr Menon’s wife Prasanna Jayasankar herself was a former Indian woman’s captain, coach of the Indian Railways team and a national selector!
- Kota’s Captains: Legendary Arjuna Awardee Khushi Ram who passed away last year, was not just known for his personal brilliance, but was also extremely down to earth and guided future star Ajmer Singh. Interestingly, Khushi Ram’s two sons Ashok Kumar and Ram Kumar have also captained the Indian team just like their celebrated father!
- Bombay Ballers! Abbas Moontasir, Abdul Hameed Khan, Sunil Panda and Gulam Rasool Khan are just few the many stars to emerge from Southern Mumbai’s Nagpada, Mastan and Matunga. These Mumbaikers introduced the famous streetball variety of playing to India. Their exciting run and gun style earned them numerous India caps despite their relatively shorter height!
- Coach Rajesh Patel is known as India’s “grassroots coaching legend”. This inspirational coach has transformed the usually forgotten state of Chhattisgarh into India’s basketball hotbed. The 24x7 residential Bhilai Steel Plant Academy has become a factory which churns out promising young Indian men and women ballers, many of whom come from poor tribal families. Coach Patel’s record speaks for itself. As chief coach of the sub-junior, youth, junior and senior women teams of Madhya Pradesh (1995-2001) and Chhattisgarh (2001 till date), he has won a combined 53 gold medals, 12 silver medals, and 17 bronze medals!
- The Singh Sisters from Varanasi- known as the ‘Fab Four’. All four sisters: Divya Singh, Prashanti Singh, Akanksha Singh and Pratima Singh have been part of the Indian national women’s team. Varanasi’s UP College is a basketball hotbed. Apart from the Singh Sisters, even men’s internationals Mihir Pandey, Trideep Rai and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi hail from this city.
- Shiba Maggon is known as the ‘Queen of Indian Basketball’. Besides being an ex-India captain herself, she, along with Snehal Bendke, is India’s first certified international women’s referee. Maggon is also a much loved junior Indian woman’s coach, commentator and has even worked with the NBA as a lead co-ordinator from the Delhi region. Talk about donning many hats!
- India’s Dunkers: In 2011, international point guard from Punjab TJ Sahi famously jumped over a taxi at a slam dunk contest in Mumbai. Elsewhere Ranbir Singh Virdi and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi replicate this feat by jumping over children! Most recently, Amjyot Singh’s sensational alley oop dunk against China has gone viral on YouTube. Yes brown men can jump!
- Geethu Anna Jose is considered the superstar of modern Indian basketball and is the first Indian, male or female to be invited for WNBA tryouts.
The FIBA Women’s Asia Cup 2017 will be held from 23rd to 29th July 2017 in Bengaluru, Karnataka; while the FIBA U-16 Women Asian Championship 2017 will be held from 22nd to 28th October in Hyderabad, Telangana
Results from final day (8) of the 67th Senior National Basketball Championship that concluded in Puducherry.