vivek ranadive

Head coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings (right) gets greeted by Indian American owner Vivek Ranadive' prior to the start of the game against the Boston Celtics at Sleep Train Arena on Feb. 20, 2015 in Sacramento, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — The NBA will play its first games in India next year.

The league announced Dec. 20 the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings will play two exhibition games Oct. 4-5, 2019 at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai.

The NBA, in another step toward expanding its global footprint, says these are the first games in the country by a North American sports league. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and NBA India managing director Yannick Colaco in Mumbai announced the match-ups.

The Kings are owned by Vivek Ranadive, the NBA’s first Indian American majority owner. He calls it an honor to help bring the game to his home country. He says the “world wants to watch basketball and India is a fast-growing new frontier.”

Since 2006, more than 35 current and former NBA and WNBA players went to India on league visits. The NBA opened a Mumbai office in 2011.

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