Seven-feet-two inches tall Satnam Singh Bhamra of village Ballo Ke in Barnala district has not yet thought as when he will play for India, but his immediate target is to get selected for main team of Dallas Mavericks of NBA after proving his skills.
On a short visit to India, he is more bothered about his village stadium which has no basketball coach. Satnam said that he feels happy when village boys try to follow him.
“I want to see another boy from this village to make his name in this game. And this can be started at the village stadium with proper facilities. I can give few tips in the form of a coaching camp, but the government needs to take some initiative,” he said.
Satnam, who became the first Indian player to get picket in NBA Draft, was a centre of attraction in Ludhiana’s Guru Nanak stadium, the place where he started learning the game since the age of nine. Satnam, along with family, was honoured by the academy on Sunday.
While posing for pictures with students at the academy, he said that height has nothing to do in this game.
“In America, I play with the best players who are 5.6 feet or even shorter. Only hard work matters, not just height,” he said.
The Dallas Mavericks pick even performed Bhangra in the basketball court with other academy players and the school students.
The principal of Nav Bharti School, CM Handa, had come especially to meet him as Satnam who did his high school there.
On Friday morning, the player had said, “Our players are good. If they get good diet, living conditions, coaches and better sporting infrastructure, they can do wonders. The sporting infrastructure of India and USA has a vast difference and shortage of coaches is a matter of concern in India.”
“My journey started from Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, so I owe a lot to this place which I can never give back, however, I will train the young students for about two days after this weekend,” said Satnam, who will be in India till August 15.
Punjab State Basketball association general secretary, Teja Singh Dhaliwal, who was ready to accompany him to Golden Temple, said Satnam has become a source of inspiration for youngsters.
“I have seen him as a kid when his father Balbir Singh first came to me with him. I chose to train him from the day one. He has become a big boy now. He is a great source of inspiration for many other youngsters.”
Though players look upto Satnam as their ideal sportsman, but he feels that he has to improve a lot even now. He said,” I have to work on my speed walk and focus a lot on training.”
Satnam has a special love for his homemade aaloo paranthas whith butter, curd and lassi.
His mother Sukhwinder Kaur, who is just 5 feet 2 inches, said: “He enjoys eating paranthas and he tells me to make them daily till he is in India.”