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Warriors Kevin Durant will visit the first NBA Academy in India

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Kevin Durant will be taking his talents to Delhi this offseason. Elected to his eighth consecutive NBA All-Star Game, the 28-year-old Durant made his announcement Thursday as part of the weekend’s festivities. He is scheduled to visit the subcontinent in July.

He will be the first player to visit NBA Academy India, an elite training facility slated to open in May in the National Capital Region. “I’m super excited about helping grow the game of basketball to a new level,” said Durant. “I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to help. … Seeing the Taj Mahal is something that has been on my bucket list for a while.”

A number of notable NBA players have made the journey to India in the past, including Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett. Last year, Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry and Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez conducted youth clinics in Noida and Mumbai. A visit by Durant, however, raises the stakes for basketball in India. He is a star among stars — someone who looms as large as cricket luminary Virat Kohli on the spectrum of global sports icons.

Durant cited the impact Kobe Bryant has had on China, the retired star who spent his entire career with the Lakers makes annual trips to the country. The Warriors would like to have similar influence in India.

“I think what people really appreciated about Kobe was that he really wanted to learn about different aspects of life and how people approach different things,” Durant said. “I feel the same way. I want to feel the culture when I go to India. I want to see what it’s about. I want to get to touch the people and check the pulse — not only the game, but life in general.”

And the NBA’s presence in India is growing steadily — up to 14 games are televised across the nation each week, and the league reached 75 million unique Indian users last month on social media. This week, 24 prospects from across the nation were selected to participate in the inaugural class of NBA Academy India.

Durant said he would offer the same advice to young athletes in India as he would to those in the United States — that they don’t have to be the biggest, fastest or strongest player in order to succeed on the court at the highest levels.

“Keep dreaming,” Durant said. “It can happen if you believe it can happen and you work at it. It might sound cliché, but it really is that simple.”

Basketball

Bucks bycott Game 5 in wake of Jacob Blake shooting, NBA season now in limbo

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Milwakee Bucks issue a statement

ORLANDO, Florida (Diya TV) — As the video of George Flyod’s killing spread across social media, the Black Lives Matter movement grew stronger & folks took to the streets to protest against police brutality. The NBA’s coronavirus-halted season resumed last month in Orlando. This Sunday, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a police officer shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, seven times in the back.

Outraged, the Milwaukee Bucks players, decided to boycott Game 5 of the playoff series against the Orlando Magic. They forfiet the game, but the Magic refused to accept the Bucks’ forfeit and instead, both teams stood united, and the Bucks called Wisconsin’s Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor during “game time”.

The news spread quickly and other teams followed suit, notably the Rockets and Thunder, after Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul discussed the boycott.

Coincidently, four years ago today, former 49er Colin Kaepernick first kneeled during the national anthem. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell finally said that he that he wished they “had listened to Kaepernick earlier.” Kaepernick, who was essentially exiled from the league, has been receiving a lot of praise after today’s boycott.

The players took the “game time” to call the Attorney General Josh Kaul & Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.

Twittersphere saw a barrage of reactions from players, coaches to former president Barack Obama

The 29-year-old, Jacob Blake was shot repeatedly in the back as he attempted to get into his car, while his three children sat inside. Protests have erupted in Kenosha since the shooting, with two people killed after a teenager opened fire on demonstrators with an assault rifle on Tuesday.

After the historic walkout, a players meeting was organized that continued past midnight in Orlando & sources say there was some frustration in the meeting among the players with the Bucks blindsiding everyone with their walk-out plan. Bucks’ guard, George Hill admitted he first sparked conversation pregame to boycott and his teammates supported.

As the teams voted on the status of the season, the LA Clippers & LA Lakers voted to boycott the NBA season, with LeBron James walking out of the meeting. He was soon followed by all the players from the LA teams.

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India, Pakistan spar over women’s rights in Kashmir

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India

NEW YORK (Diya TV)  — At the United Nations, both India and Pakistan’s representatives took shots at their counterpart over women’s rights. Islamabad’s outgoing envoy to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said the women in Jammu and Kashmir were suffering due to the communication blackout in the state. India’s First Secretary to the UN Paulomi Tripathi said, without naming Pakistan, these “baseless statements” were ironic given the amount of honor killings that take place there annually.

Rajeev Majumdar is the new president of the Washington State Bar Association, becoming the first state bar president of South Asian descent in the United States.

For the first time, India entered the ranks of the top ten countries sending visitors to the United States, with tourists from India spending nearly $16 billion in the U.S. in 2018 alone.

And while the Kings and Pacers played two entertaining games in Mumbai, their legacy will include supporting five under-resourced schools in and around the region, outfitting them with Smart Classrooms, STEM training and new basketball courts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Gandhi 150th birth anniversary noted around the world

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Birth Anniversary

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) —  Celebrations for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary have been ongoing for the past year, but culminated with a ceremony in New Delhi featuring Prime Minister Modi and another in Washington at the Library of Congress. And France’s government worked with the Indian Embassy there to issue a stamp in honor of his birth anniversary.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal are meeting this week to continue the US-India discussion on trade and investment.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb came to New Delhi to strengthen ties between the Hoosier State and India. Infosys has already made a large commitment there. Holcomb is part of a large delegation of Americans now heading Mumbai to take in the first-ever NBA preseason games in India featuring the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings.

Bollywood turned Hollywood actor Anupam Kher came to the Bay Area to keynote the Akshay Patra annual fundraising gala that helps feed children in India a hot meal during the school year.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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