NBA is heading to India

The biggest basketball tournament on the planet is about to “land” to India, a country with strong potential but yet to have the opportunity to grow.

According to a recent announcement from the NBA, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers will become the first two names to compete in India. The preseason match between the two teams will take place on October 4 and 5, 2019, on the NSCI Dome in the entertainment city of Mumbai.

“The NBA is trying to further develop its huge basketball potential in India, a country with a thriving sports culture and a growing young population,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “We are also very grateful to organizations like Kings and Pacers who participated in this historic step.”

Since taking over as a commissioner in 2014, Mr. Adam Silver has made a very positive contribution to the NBA.

The owner of Kings – Vivek Ranadive is an Indian businessman and has long wanted to bring the planet’s biggest basketball tournament back to his homeland.

“As an Indian-American, it is an honor to contribute to bringing this historic moment to the country where I grew up. Basketball is booming in India and we are very happy about continue to expand the scope of the NBA to fans around the globe, “said Vivek.

Kevin Durant is one of the stars who participated in the NBA-organized basketball training program in India. In addition to the main season in the US, the NBA also has a lot of programs dedicated to other countries, with the aim of universalizing and developing basketball across the planet.

The first Indian basketball player in NBA

Bhullar is one of the first Indian basketball players in NBA. Currently, the athlete is playing for the Guangxi Rhino basketball team in China, dividing the time between Toronto and the southern city of Guangzhou.

“Many places in China, they don’t see outsiders. Especially I am tall, I just stick out like a sore thumb.” But the team is like a “big family”, he said.

He maintains his Indian contacts, talks to his parents in his native language and visits Gurdwaras wherever he can find them.

Bhullar believes his achievement will pave the way for more Indian players.

The first Indian basketball player in NBA (Part 2)

‘Sim’ Bhullar placed high on the first NBA Indian player

A professional coach also loved his performance and offered him a position with the Ontario Basketball Association. After a successful college career, he scored a point with the NBA draft in April 2014, before signing a contract with Kings, owned by Indian businessman Vivek Ranadive.

It is known that the sixth tallest player in NBA history, a statistic that he did not follow, he was once a tall kid at school. Even when he was 15, he was about six feet, six inches tall.

Although his parents did not see basketball becoming a pastime, they always supported his career.

‘I want to be like Vince Carter’

For Bhullar, it doesn’t matter that no famous Indian nationalist plays a role model. “Vince Carter changed the landscape of basketball in Canada … I want to be like him and be on stage one day.”

Sim Bhullar played for the New Mexico State Championship against the Aztecs of San Diego State in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 20, 2014, in Spokane, Washington.

Bhullar was not surprised by the expectations of Indian hopefuls. He tried to go to India whenever possible, the last visit about four years ago during an NBA-sponsored trip. He went to Amritsar city in Punjab and stopped at the Golden Temple, the most sacred site of Sikhism. And he was caught up.

“A huge escort policeman took us to the gate. I went around there and there were about 200 to 300 people staring and taking pictures. I had to be led to one of the next rooms.”

It’s not just that his height attracted attention; Some followers know who he is, calling his name. And India has kept tabs on him.

Bhullar also tried to disseminate the game in India by opening courts and helping children play. And he was touched by the passion that existed for the game.

He thought that basketball could eventually occupy the second or third place for cricket, the most popular sport in India.

The first Indian basketball player in NBA (Part 1)

With a height of 7 feet 5 inches (2.26 meters), Gursimran Sim Bhullar was the first Indian basketball player to step onto the pitch in an NBA match.

“I had to go to court and do my job, so I didn’t think about it,” the 26-year-old player told CNN. “It’s surreal. It didn’t hit me until after the game I played in the NBA game.”

Three days later, he became the first Indian player to score in an NBA match against Utah Jazz. Bhullar has signed a 10-day contract with the NBA’s G League, an official small tournament. Each season, NBA teams may contract players in the 10-day contract before signing or releasing them. While he hopes to return to the prestigious tournament, he said the NBA game has changed.

“They are playing smaller and faster, so it is difficult for me to fit the system,” Bhullar said. “I worked with my game, from being better and moving faster.”

Bhullar was born and raised in the Canadian city of Toronto, while his parents came from northern Indian state villages in Punjab state. They moved to Canada in the 1980s where they married and had children. Bhullar Sims was surrounded by his parents when he joined as a marshal in the Indian Day parade on August 17, 2014, in New York.

As soon as they arrived in Toronto, both his parents worked in factories while his father drove a taxi. Now they own a gas station at the image of Bhullar and his brother Tanveer, also a basketball player, adorn the walls.

Bhullar found it difficult to master English as a second language, when he learned Punjabi at home but accepted Indian culture and religion. He spends every weekend at Gurdwara (Sikh worship place).

Sim Bhullar scored in a Filipino basketball tournament in Toronto, Canada, around 2003-2004. He had the first taste of the game when he was 10 or 11. “I played basketball more than anything else and I fell in love with it.”