What are the most iconic basketball stadiums in India?
In the NBA, that distinction belongs to the likes of Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, TD Garden or United Center. All of them are now buzzing again with the NBA regular season back in full swing.
As for the basketball action in India, here's a closer look at two of the country's must-see venues.
Thyagaraj Stadium, Delhi
Named after a famous 19th century South Indian poet, interestingly, Thyagaraj Stadium happens to be North India's premier basketball stadium.
Nestled in the heart of South Delhi near INA Market, Thyagaraj has a 10,000 square meter rooftop solar power plant and rainwater harvesting systems making it one of the most environment-friendly sporting venues in the world.
With an indoor seating capacity of about five thousand, the venue has hosted numerous camps of the Indian national team as well as various state level tournaments. Originally designed as a netball stadium for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the venue has since blossomed into the home of the Delhi state team with one primary court flanked by massive stands and one practice court.
The stadium also has some NBA pedigree; it held the IMG Academy's trials which led to the selection of the then 14-year-old Satnam Singh, who went on to become the first Indian to be drafted by the NBA in 2015. Singh later returned to Thyagaraj to tip off ACG-NBA Jump, India's first national basketball talent search programme. The programme led to the selection of Palpreet Singh, who subsequently became the first Indian player to be drafted by the NBA D-League (now the NBA G-League).
Sri Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru
Kanteerava's iconic dome is situated on a green belt next to the State Central Library, and provides a picturesque juxtaposition against Bengaluru's urban skyline.
While Thyagaraj Stadium may have more connections to the NBA, Kanteerava is a venue almost synonymous with Indian basketball, having hosted a plethora of international tournaments. In March, Kanteerava hosted the men's FIBA World Cup Qualifiers where India unfortunately fell short but Satnam Singh had an impressive showing in a much-awaited comeback to the Indian Team.
Last year, the women's team exceeded expectations in the FIBA Asia Cup by finishing atop their division with captain Shireen Limaye leading the team in assists and rebounds.
Kanteerava is also home to the Vijaya Bank team, the state's biggest recruiter of basketball talent and one of the best club teams in the country. With all the Indian basketball heritage, Sri Kanteerava Stadium is like the Madison Square Garden of India; former players often talk about the venue with nostalgia and current players look forward to the crowd cheering them on.