NBA office in Kochi?

July 13th, 2008 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, July 13 (IANS) Kochi, along with Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, has been short-listed by the elite National Basketball Association (NBA) of the United States for setting up its India office. P.O. Phillip, president of the Kerala Basketball Association, told IANS that a two-member delegation led by Akash Jain, NBA’s director of international development, had met him in Alappuzha two days ago to discuss the matter.

“The discussion was fruitful and I am happy to know about Kochi’s chances to have the NBA’s India office. China and Japan already have offices of NBA,” said Phillip.

Basketball, like a lot of other games, is a passion for Keralites and currently the Kerala junior teams - men and women - are the national champions. Kerala men are the runners-up at the senior level in the country.

Commenting on the biggest impediment in making Kerala a basketball hub, Phillip said: “There are very few employment avenues for basketball players. As a result, immediately after college, all the good players who are employed by various banks and the central public sector leave the state.”

If Kochi won the race and got the NBA office it would be a great boost for those involved in sports in the state, he said.

“There would be a good amount of funds at the disposal of NBA and this, in turn, would be utilised to provide excellent training for those who choose basketball as a career sport. They would also come forward to set up infrastructure facility for promoting basketball,” said Phillip.

Apart from the excellent talent available in Kerala, the state’s natural beauty is another factor that helped Kochi figure in the NBA shortlist.

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