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NBA star Brook Lopez bats for pro basketball league in India

Mumbai: Los Angeles Lakers centre, Brook Lopez, has wound up his NBA-related India visit and is carrying home favourable impressions about the talent pool he has seen here.
In a media interaction here today, the 7-footer gave the example of the United States newfound love for football through Major League Soccer and felt a similar professional basketball league would help in honing the skills of Indian hoopsters further.
"Its (soccer) increasing in popularity in America obviously and has been for a while. Interest in the MLS has been increasing a lot every time the (FIFA) World Cup comes around. Great interest is being generated in the local league and it keeps growing. I think there are 23-24 teams now," said the Lakers player.
"I think itll be great to see that kind of growth in basketball; so perhaps a professional league in India (is needed). For me it gives an opportunity for the players to move on to the national team and one day hopefully (gain a place) in the NBA," said Lopez, who himself is a big fan of former top French soccer greats Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry.
Conceding the global competition in his sport does not have the same appeal as the football World Cup, Lopez was of the opinion that developing the hoop sport in countries like India could make the interest grow.
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