Event on January 19th being organized with the local IACC.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: The National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic basketball team will host its second annual India Day next month, on January 19, in partnership with the Indian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC).
The event will feature a street festival of all things Indian, including henna tattoos. Additionally, reigning Miss America Nina Davuluri, the first ever woman of Indian origin to hold the title, will be present as the India Day spokesperson.
The concept of celebrating and shining the spotlight on a particular ethnicity is not new for the NBA. Similar attention has been given to the African American and Latino American populations of the US over the past several years, particularly during Noche Latina Night, on which each team that’s playing will where a special jersey that has Spanish on it rather than English.
The first India Day that the Magic held was a rousing success, with hordes of fans, Indian and otherwise, crowing the arena and the streets around it to partake in the fun and excitement of the festivities. The Magic organization was keen to hold the event again, and the IACC joined with them to make it so.
This year, 1,000 tickets to the January 19 game – which will be played against the Boston Celtics – will be donated to non-profit organizations throughout the Orlando area. Last year’s event gave out 600, an already sizeable number that has now been increased substantially. The Magic – as well as the NBA as a whole – hope to use events like India Day to get kids more active and enthusiastic about sports in an effort to fight childhood obesity, a growing problem throughout the US.
If the upcoming India Day celebration is a success like the first one was, the Magic and the IACC are hoping to make it a yearly event. But they are not the only ones using vibrant Indian culture to excite and connect with their fan base. Other teams around the NBA, which consists of 30 teams divided up into Eastern and Western conferences, are also actively trying to bring India Day-type celebrations to their stadiums at various points throughout the season.
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