With rising incomes, media-savvy youth, and a huge population, India seems to the NBA to be it’s next big thing. One problem – Indians don’t seem to like basketball that much. “Genetically, we’re not inclined that way,” says an Indian sportswriter in an article in the LA Times on this subject. Sports are also seen as a distraction from studying. There is lack of sports facilities in most schools, let along basketball courts. Poor students with only one change of clothes are reluctant to get sweaty at school. Then again, poverty hasn’t stopped Filipinos from being basketball fanatics.
To boost basketball’s popularity in India, the NBA has looked for an Indian player who could have an impact in the country much like Yao Ming’s impact in China. One possibility is Satnam Singh Bhamara. This 14 year old is 7 feet tall and weighs 250 pounds. After shining at a local basketball academy in India, he will soon go to a basketball academy in the U.S. Indian basketball players may seem unusual, but as I have seen tall, excellent ones while watching my sons play. We have also written about the 7 foot Bhullar Brothers who are college prospects. Does Satnam have the skills to make the impact that the NBA dreams about? As described in this article from SportsKeeda, Troy Justice, the NBA’s Director of Basketball Operations in India, thinks so: “If I could, I would work with this kid every day,” he says. “He can be the chosen one for basketball in India.”