From wheat field to wooden court, let’s have a look at the journey of Satnam Singh, the NBA superstar from India. Satnam was born in 1995 in a small village Ballo ke in the district of Barnala, Punjab. His village has a population of just 800. The location is extremely rural and livelihood in the village is based on wheat cultivation.
Satnam Singh ventures into Basketball
By the age of 9, Satnam grew taller than majority of the adults in his village and basketball seemed to shrink in his hands over time. He was awarded the ironical nickname “Chhotu” by people of his village. He enrolled into Ludhiana Basketball Academy, at the age of 10, and started participating in youth leagues. By age 13, he was already 6 ft 11 inch tall. At that age he wore size 18 shoes which was very unusual for his age. He found it difficult to search a shoe in his size so he got two shoes stitched together and wore them for his practice session. It was the time when he started getting professional exposure. He represented Indian youth national basketball team at 2009 FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship in Malaysia.
Satnam Singh – Path towards NBA glory
He outshined at the NBA Mahindra challenge in 2010 and was selected for the IMG Academy in a scholarship program. Despite the lack of infrastructure and training, Satnam wooed the selectors. A pair of size 18 shoes were shipped from US especially for him. Satnam then traveled to Florida at 14 where he began his professional training and high school academics. He weighs 132 kg now and stands at 7 ft 2 inch tall.
IMG team currently ranks at #8 and is known for producing players like Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter etc.
“This boy, you will want to see. I’ve told people many times, he can become India’s Yao Ming”- Troy Justice, Director Basketball Operations NBA, India.
To those who don’t know Yao Ming, he is a popular NBA superstar from China. During the 2014–15 season, he averaged 9.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in less than 20 minutes per game for IMG. Satnam has shown sheer persistence and dedication by focusing on his strength and overcoming the language barrier.
In 2015, he created history by becoming the first Indian-born player to be drafted into the NBA picked by Dallas Mavericks. He made his professional debut in 2015 NBA Summer League with 4 points and 3 rebound in 9 mins. Though his team has seen less success, but the future of this 21 year old superstar seems bright. Billions of eyes are set on Satnam Singh as he inspires millions with his die hard spirit.
Explore more such inspirational tales of Indian sports.