Indian basketball is heading the NBA way, with leading men and women internationals to be seen in action at the first Mastan Basketball Professional League 2010, sponsored by Lakadawala Developers Pvt. Ltd, organised by Basketball Federation of India and Mastan YMCA from May 8-15, 2010.

All competing players will be paid a fixed amount for each match played, plus 3-star accommodation and meals.

Eight men’s teams will be called Rangers, Challengers, Kings, Soldiers, Warriors, Lions, Riders and Prince. The four women’s teams are Power Girls, Super Girls, Wonder Girls and Golden Girls, The Golden Girls squad will comprise only junior players who are a part of the current national team, according to the organisers.

BFI secretary general, Harish Sharma, formally announced the pro league launch on Thursday at a function where sponsor Ibrahim Lakadawala and Bombay YMCA general secretary Jacob Abraham were present.

Crowd-pullers to play for various teams includes Vishesh Raghuvanshi, S Robinson, Jagdeep Singh, Sambhaji Kadam, Jairam Jat, Hareesh Koroth, Vineeth Mathew, Mihir Pandey, Arjun Singh, Prakash Mishra, Talwainderjit Singh, Yadwinder Singh, Trideep Rai and Riyazuddin.

Top women in action are Geethu Anna Jose, Akanksha Singh, Seema Singh, Anju Lakra, Kiranjeet Kaur, Anitha Paul Durai, Prashanti Singh, Harjeet Kaur, Raspreet Sidhu, Sonika Ohlyan.

Geethu is the most famous name in the list. The first Indian to figure in the Australian Women’s National Basketball League from 2006, her performances for Ringwood Hawks (Melbourne) gained her a selection to the First Division All-Stars.

She became the first Second Division professional basketballer to get the honour. Australian pro club talent scouts noticed Geethu during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne when named the Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Coaches attached to teams in the league are Bhupendra Shahi (Railways), Ram Kumar (Railways), S K Raja (TN), Mukhtiar Singh (SAI, Bhopal), Vhaskar (SAI, TN), J P Singh (Jharkhand), Rajinder Singh (SSCB), B S Hooda (Delhi) for men’s squads. Abdul Hamid Khan, Sat Prakash Yadav, Prasanna (all Railways) and Sheeba Maggon (MTNL) will coach the women’s squads.

Sharma, giving details about the pro league, to be played at the Mastan YMCA courts, informed that apart from playing fees, each match would have a ‘Best Player Award’ in the form of a INQ cell phone, sponsored by INQ. Further in the league stage, each member of the winning team will be paid Rs 3,000 and losing team members Rs 2,000 each.

The amount is Rs 4,000 and Rs 3000 each for the semifinals. The champion and runner-up team players will gain Rs 5,000 and Rs 4000 respectively.

More In: Other Sports | Sport