Satnam Singh Bhamara: The first Indian who cracked the NBA

Representing India on foreign shores, Satnam Singh Bhamara is the first Indian to turn out in the elite US National Basketball Association (NBA) league.

Despite the huge recognition, Satnam Singh said no one from the Indian government ever called him to appreciate his work or congratulated him for his achievements.

Satnam Singh Bhamara
Satnam Singh Bhamara Photo courtesy:

Bhamara feels that the Indian government should support the players and provide sports infrastructure along with promoting the game in India. “I will continue to do my bit for promoting sports in India but the government's support will be an added benefit. It should work towards providing better opportunities to kids," he said to IANS.

7' 2" tall Bhamara, who hails from Barnala in Punjab said there’s a need for the Indian government to provide monetary help for building sports infrastructure in the country.

A documentary titled ‘One in a Billion’ chronicles his journey to become the first Indian-born basketball player drafted into NBA.

Hailing from a small village, Bhamara had to go through much turbulence to make a name for himself in sports, including the language barrier.

Satnam Singh Bhamara
Satnam Singh Bhamara Photo courtesy:

Talking about his journey from Barnala to Texas, Bhamara said: “I faced a lot of difficulties initially, especially in terms of studies. When I was in India, I didn't know the importance of studies.”

He further said, “I used to go to the farm with my father or used to play. When I got a scholarship and came to the US, I understood how important it is to study. I saw players giving interviews and interacting with the coaches in English. Coming here from Punjab, I had to study English from scratch. I was lucky enough to receive help from coaches and teachers.”

Bhamara hopes to open a basketball academy in India. He has not forgotten his "desi" roots but wants Indian children to master the English language.

(With inputs from IANS)