Ballin' Beyond The Paint: 'India Rising' Is Spearheading A Basketball Revolution

India Rising is an all-Indian professional basketball team.
India Rising is an all-Indian professional basketball team. Brown Ballers

Basketball has always been an American sport, with the National Basketball Association (NBA) as its most prominent league. However, basketball has now become a global phenomenon, with international players making their mark in the NBA. Despite this, there is still a lack of representation for South Asian athletes. This is where Brown Ballers comes in, with their basketball team India Rising and their media platform that champions South Asian athletes. 

Brown Ballers is a non-profit organization that aims to shatter stereotypes and disrupt the status quo. Their platform strives to build a community of Brown athletes through scholarships, networking, and charity.

India Rising is a professional all-Indian basketball team that is composed of doctors, engineers and professionals that are both from the diaspora and Indian-born. Last year, the team competed in ESPN’s The Basketball Tournament x — a tournament featuring 64 teams in a single-elimination format, with a prize of $1 million.

Currently, India Rising is playing in two tournaments this year. The first is the Basketball World Cup, where they will compete with eight teams in a round-robin format to win a $20,000 prize. Once again, India Rising is the first and only all-India team to participate. The second tournament is their return to ESPN's TBT. The tryouts for India Rising took place this month in New Delhi India in collaboration with Overtime India and In The Lab. 

The bigger picture for Brown Ballers is not just about winning tournaments — it's about creating opportunities for brown athletes around the world. They have already started building junior India Rising teams in India, giving young players exposure and the chance to apply for scholarships that could change their lives and help them go pro. Some players from Brown Ballers have already gone pro, including Aryan Sharma in Canada's basketball league, Josh Sharma in the British basketball league, and Gokul Natesan in Taiwan, who plays alongside former NBA player Jeremy Lin. These success stories show that Brown Ballers is not just a platform for basketball — it's a platform that is changing lives. Furthermore, they plan to expand their platform to include other sports like soccer, golf, volleyball and more, in order to truly give brown athletes the space they have earned, and earnestly deserve.

Brown Ballers has recruited notable global ambassadors to extend their influence and outreach. Ronnie Singh, also known as Ronnie2k is the face of NBA2K and takes a significant role in pushing basketball globally, while Satnam Singh, the former Dallas Mavericks player, made history as the first Indian-born NBA draft pick. Furthermore, Tesher, the accomplished singer-rapper, unites India and its diaspora.

"There was a time not that long ago when India's basketball team competed in the Olympics. Imagine taking the world's best Indian-origin talent from both India and its Diaspora (US/Canada) and seeing how that team performs? That's what I'm pushing for with India Rising and Brown Ballers. Our heroes exist, but their stories have just never been told. Ultimately, India's passion for basketball is not about western validation. The game has had a long history across South Asia. Despite us not having any NBA All-Stars of Desi heritage currently, there's still such a strong demand for the game amongst brown people. I believe sport can strengthen relations between India and its Diaspora and ultimately bring people together at a time when 'being Desi' can be so divisive."

Gautam Kapur, co-founder of Brown Ballers.

As India Rising continues to make strides, they are also in the process of producing a sports documentary that delves into the world of Brown basketball. They hope to shed light on the journey of these extraordinary athletes, their triumphs, and the challenges they have faced along the way.

Brown Ballers and their trailblazing team, India Rising, are transforming the narrative of brown athletes in the world of sports. With their remarkable track recordd in such a short space of time, they are breaking barriers, inspiring future generations, and creating a legacy that will be celebrated for years to come. It's clear that the rise of Brown basketball has only just begun.

India Rising's Non-Profit is raising funds to cover athlete travel and lodging this summer. You can donate at this link.

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