'We feel like pioneers': Pacers, Kings set for NBA India Games

MUMBAI: A momentous occasion is set to be witnessed when Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings play two preseason NBA India Games 2019 here for the first time on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5.

Sacramento Kings' player Harrison Barnes and vice president of Basketball Operations and general manager Vlade Divac, and Indiana Pacers' player Doug McDermott and president of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard shared their excitement about visiting India with the country's media during a conference call organised by the NBA.

"It is going to be a really exciting time for us as a team, for the league, to be part of the first NBA India Games 2019 in India. I had a talk with my teammates and they are really excited to see the culture. The biggest thing about India is that the culture is beautiful. I was there earlier this year, I want to give my teammates a chance to walk in the city, eat Indian food and see the Taj Mahal and also work with the kids who are part of the NBA Academy in India. It is a great experience. From a basketball perspective I want to see how passionate the fan base is," said Barnes.

Barnes added that the Indian fans will have a chance to understand what basketball is all about through the NBA India Games 2019 in Mumbai.

"I think it is one thing to see the game on TV but to be able to see the game up close will give the fans in India an idea of what the game is all about. To feel the excitement and experience, it is what I feel everyone wants to promote. I was very impressed with the kids when I traveled to India this summer, they are very talented. To see how hard they were working and being diligent to details. There is no doubt that the game will grow and that more players will come out of India," said Barnes.

Indiana Pacers' general manager Kevin Pritchard expressed that both the teams feel like the pioneers of taking NBA from the US to India.

 "We're really excited about getting to India, we talked a lot about it internally and we feel like we are pioneers as this the first NBA game in the country. I think that there's an excitement from the players and they want to be prepared to put on a good show," said Pritchard.