India, the second most populous country in the world, has never produced an NBA player. Satnam Singh Bhamara, standing 7 feet tall and weighing in at 250 pounds, is a 14-year-old man-child who seems destined to change this fact.
Bhamara is now training with the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and initial reports indicate he is on his way to becoming the first Indian-born player to enter the NBA. From Fanhouse’s Tim Potvak comes this truly original story about the Conan-sized Indian basketball who is apparently on pace to do for India what Yao Ming did for China.
Satnam came to the United States for the first time six weeks ago, one of 29 student athletes (both male and female in three different sports) from India who will train at the renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla, as part of a new scholarship program to promote, develop and manage sports and entertainment in that country.
That potential starts with his size, which is incredible itself. At age 14, he is expected to grow for another couple of years. For now, he wears a size-22 basketball shoe. His hands swallow the ball. His father, Balbir Singh Bhamara, is 7-2. His grandmother on his father’s side is 6-9.”
As the saying goes, you can’t teach size. And if you’ve got size like Satnam does and can play even a little bit, the NBA will take a chance. And being from India only helps his chances – what NBA team wouldn’t want the added publicity of helping break a national barrier? Satnam may not beat this pair of simlarly sized Candian-born Indian twins to national television, but his build and blossoming skill set show he may last.
The biggest potential winner out of this? The NBA. It’s no secret that David Stern was also sorts of giddy about the possibilities of branding his league across the globe when LeBron James signed in Miami. Prokohorov’s name alone, along with Timofey Mozgov, have increased visibility in Russia.
Yao made basketball viable in China and paved the way for Yi. Time will tell if Satnam can do the same for India. But for his own body’s sake, it might benefit him to stop growing–being as tall as Yao certainly won’t guarantee longevity.