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NBA Awaits Satnam From India, So Big and Athletic at 14

By: Tim Povtak
BRADENTON, Fla
 
SattiSatnam Singh Bhamara did not grow up dreaming about playing in the NBA -- because he never saw the game. He didn't even know what basketball was.

He just grew.

And his dreams were mostly what he read in books, limited to his life in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, a faraway outpost in the state of Punjab, India, close to the Pakistan border, where his father farmed, and he too, expected to farm one day.

Then his father told him a story, a sad story about long-ago missed opportunity, about a game he knew and loved but never was allowed to play, a game he quietly wanted his son to try, offering a window to a whole different world.

There were no basketball courts in his village to play on, no cable television to deliver the games, so his father sent him away, where others could teach him to play, quickly discovering he had an incredible gift, an athleticism very unusual for someone growing so fast and so large, leading him down the path he walks today.

In a country of 1.3 billion people, 7-foot, 250-pound Satnam Singh Bhamar has become a beacon for basketball hope.
At age 14. 
"Satnam could one day do the same thing for India that Yao Ming did in China -- put the spotlight on basketball through an entire country,'' said Troy Justice, the NBA Director of Basketball Operations in India who has watched him play many times. "It really could be something.''

Despite the league's already-strong global flavor today -- there are 85 international players from 39 different countries or territories -- there never has been a player from India on an NBA roster.

 

 

 
 

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