On cloud nine after becoming the first Indian to make the NBA draft for Dallas Mavericks, Satnam Singh Bhamra on Friday said that his entry will open the doors for more Indians to play basketball at the highest level in America.
Having represented the national team, Satnam moved to Florida for training before making his presence felt in the NBA circuit. The 19-year-old sensation believes that many hoopsters can take a leaf out of his book to dream big.
"The feeling is ofcourse unreal but it has happened and I feel that my entry will certainly open the doors for many aspiring basketballers in India to dream big," said an elated Satnam to a host of Indian journalists on conference call from the US.
"At least there is somebody with whom the youngsters back home can identify, somebody who is playing in the NBA. Now a road has opened up for them from which they can come up."
"The game will certainly grow in India in the coming years. You see the popularity of cricket now but in future basketball will also be popular back home," he added.
Hailing from a small village called ‘Ballo Ke’ near Ludhiana, the 7 feet 2 inches player has made it to the home of basketball in the world and Satnam admitted that there was lot of anxiety before the result of the draft came in. Satnam was picked in the 52nd draft and second list of the NBA.
"Forget about sleep, I haven’t even eaten anything because of the anxiety. There were no nerves as such but just that feeling that I should make it into the draft. I was certainly hopeful after coming this far but there is always a big if. But by the grace of God I have realised my dream," he said with a big laugh.
Coming from a farmer’s family, Satnam came to the US in September 2010 as part of a scholarship program between IMG and Reliance. The 110 kg player thanked his family and his first guide for making his dream a reality.
"I haven’t been able to call home but I will certainly get connected via skype. I can never forget about the prayers and sacrifices of of my mother, who is instrumental in me getting here.
"My sister also went to the guruduwara and prayed a lot for me. I can’t also thank enough Dr. Subramaniam, my first coach, who believed in me and always encouraged me to chase my dreams and achieve my goals."