Hope NBA draft helps cricket-mad India take to basketball: Satnam
After becoming the first Indian-born player to be picked in the NBA, Satnam Singh Bhamara hopes his selection in the US-based league will kickstart a basketball boom in cricket-obsessed India.
The 19-year-old centre admitted he was incredibly nervous in the run up to the NBA Draft, which saw him chosen by the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. "Forget about sleep, I haven't eaten even a morsel. I was certainly hopeful after coming this far but there is always a big if," said Bhamara, who hails from a family of farmers.
The 7-foot-2-inch (2.18m) Bhamara, from the village of Ballo Ke in northern Punjab, is hoping he can generate enthusiasm for the sport in India –in much the same way that superstar Yao Ming sparked a basketball frenzy in China. "I feel that my entry will certainly open the doors for many aspiring basketballers in India to dream big," said Bhamara when speaking from the US during a conference call with a handful of Indian journalists.
"At least there is now someone with whom the youngsters back home can identify. A new road has opened up for them," he said during the call, a recording of which was released to the wider media. Bhamara, who moved to the US in 2010 to train in Florida, became the first player in a decade to be picked by an NBA team after not playing for a US college or overseas pro team.
Punjab Olympic Association to honour Satnam
The President of Punjab Olympic Association (POA) and Member of Parliament, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa on Saturday said they would honour Satnam Singh for creating history by becoming the first Indian basketball player to be drafted into the USA's prestigious NBA league. In a congratulation message to Satnam, who hails from Ballo Ke village in Barnala district, Dhindsa said after the completion of the NBA league, the POA would organise a special event to mark the achievement of the boy from Punjab. He said "it is a proud moment for all Indians that a boy from remote area in Punjab has made a remarkable presence in the field of sports at international level". Meanwhile, the General Secretary of POA, K Raja Sidhu said keeping in view the success of Satnam, his photograph with achievements would be the part of hall-of-fame in Punjab Olympic Bhawan at Mohali.