India's star hoopster Satnam Singh Bhamara, who was the first basketball player from the country to be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA), was seen training hard with tractors at his native village in the Barnala district of Punjab.
Satnam became the first player from the country to be drafted into the NBA after Dallas Mavericks picked him in the 2015 NBA draft. Speaking exclusively to IndiaTV, Satnam said it feels great to sweat hard in the village, using the natural resources in the best way possible.
“There are no training centers here in our village, no basketball courts either. So, when I came here and looked around, I was astonished to see nature’s given resources that can be used to train well,” Satnam told India TV.
“I thought of using tractors as they are very powerful, and it helped,” he added.
The 7’2” baller, who plays at center position, played high school basketball at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The stint helped him grab attention at the age of 14 and he came on the radar of NBA teams thereafter.
In May 2017, the NBA launched the NBA Academy India, a first-of-its-kind basketball training center at the Jaypee Greens Integrated Sports Complex in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Even though India now has its own NBA academy, Satnam believes it won’t help much in the sport’s development until the country gets a professional basketball league.
“We need a league if we want to see the sport of basketball prosper in India. We have a lot of prodigious ballers in the country who can achieve great success if they get timely opportunity.”
“The league will attract more and more young kids to come and play and then we can take basketball to a new height. It’s good that we have an NBA academy in India but it won’t help much until we get a professional league,” Satnam explained.
When asked if he sees the NBA Academy India providing right guidance and facilities to the aspiring hoopsters from the country, Satnam said, “Yes, I have been there. They have great training facilities. I’ve done a bit of training there and was impressed by the coaching staff and ambiance they’ve created. It’s all up to international level training centers.”
Satnam’s contract with the Mavericks expired last year and he returned to Balloke, a small village situated in the Barnala district of Punjab. The 22-year-old is chalking out feverish plans for a return to NBA but he knows it won't happen soon and is willing to wait for his turn.
“I want to feature in the NBA again but would love to play in any corner of the world, wherever I get a chance to play,” Satnam signed off.