OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — As the Golden State Warriors continue their trek to defend their 2015 world championship, an infusion of Indian culture was introduced during Wednesday night’s contest against the visiting Utah Jazz. It was ‘Bollywood Night’ at Oracle Arena, an annual culture introduced by Indian American and former Warriors owner, Vivek Ranadive.

Ranadive is of course now the majority owner of the Sacramento Kings, his 2013 purchase of the franchise made him the first Indian owner in league history. The Kings’ Bollywood Night took place in January.

Like Bollywood Night, winning has become a regular occurrence for the Warriors — Wednesday night’s 115-94 victory was the team’s 46th straight regular season win on their home court, a record which has already exceeded that of the ’96 Chicago Bulls 44 straight, and one which additionally extends to last season. But on a night where Steph Curry dazzled again, another tradition carried on in grand style.

Outside of Oracle Arena, before the game, the Balle Balle Bhangra Boys offered performances of traditional Punjabi dances, and delivered them in style. “Dancing here means a lot to me,” said Teg Singh, a member of the group. “It’s a great way to spread our culture, and share our heritage through dance.”

A 2016 Golden State Warriors Bollywood Night t-shirt, Photo Courtesy of Diya TV
A 2016 Golden State Warriors Bollywood Night t-shirt, Photo Courtesy of Diya TV

Though Bollywood Night movement in professional basketball was born in the Bay Area, the NBA has ramped up efforts in recent years to begin their outreach and expansion into India and China. This year, the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic all hosted Bollywood Nights during home games — during the Kings’ edition, Indian-origin Miss America Nina Davulari was in attendance. Players’ names were announced in Hindi during the pre-game ceremonies, and a scintillating introduction video to reach out to fans from Mumbai to Sacramento. The team’s dance team also donned Indian-themed attire, and even the Kings’ mascot, Slamson the lion.

In the Bay Area, no Bollywood Night would be complete without a performance from the Bhangra Empire — the group incorporated hip hop and bhangra beats together for their performance, while paying their respects to the Warriors, dressed in midnight blue and gold.

“The tradition has been so much fun,” said Franco Finn, the Golden State Warriors Hype Man. “I think it’s the most colorful kind of celebrations we have. We’ve got dancers, entertainment, the shirts that we’re wearing, it’s just so incredible and everyone is so committed.”

As America’s most progressive professional sports league, the NBA’s international expansion is on the uptick — for the first time in league history, this year’s edition of the annual all star game was held outside of the U.S. As the game continues to grow, commissioner Adam Silver said he’s keeping an open mind on the possibility of moving basketball not just across borders, but across oceans.

“The billion followers of the NBA on social media include many millions of our fans in India as well,” Silver said. “We have about a 10-person office in Mumbai, and we even have an owner, Vivek Ranadive, who was born in Mumbai. We have plans to do even more.”

The NBA has traveled overseas in the past — in 1978, an exhibition game was played in Israel, and the league has since conducted 160 games internationally. “We continue to look at expanding the number of regular season and preseason games we play overseas. We just want to be very careful on how we approach it,” Silver said. “I certainly think it’s worked very effectively to play regular season games in London, building some time off for the players once they return. I think our preseason schedule has worked out very well in Asia and Europe.”

Silver recognizes the NBA is in a unique position to share its product — it is the only North American professional sports league which carries a significant following in Asia. League executives have already begun exploring the possibilities of playing exhibition games in Asia, Silver said.

Ravi Kapur, Deepti Dawar and Jeff Knapp contributed to this report.