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.”