India, the second most populated country in the world, has never produced an NBA player. Satnam Singh Bhamara, 7 feet tall and weighing in at 250 pounds, is a 14-year-old 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.
“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.” Due to his size and the fact that he can play some ball, the NBA is willing to take a chance on him. And being from India only helps his chances – it doesn’t hurt the NBA team to attract the publicity of helping to break a national barrier.
The NBA is the biggest potential winner out of this. David Stern was all too excited about the possibilities of branding the NBA across the globe when LeBron James signed in Miami. As in the case of Yao, basketball was made viable in China and paved the way for Yi. Only time will tell if Satnam can do the same for India.