India newspapers look to basketball with the sudden rise of Bhamara
It is a rare day in India when basketball makes the front page of newspapers, yet Satnam Singh Bhamara achieved that feat when he became the first Indian to be drafted to the NBA this week. The 2.15-meter 19-year-old was selected by the Dallas Mavericks and local media celebrated. “Satnam Takes Giant Leap” read a headline in The Times of India Saturday while the Hindustan Times carried a picture with the headline “Going Big.”
The Indian Express headline was “Hoop dreams: from Ludhiana to Dallas via NBA” as a correspondent reported from Bhamara’s village of Ballo Ke near the northern city of Ludhiana.
Television also featured interviews with his coach and family members who celebrated the achievement.
“There was no real vibe, there were no hints that one team was more interested in me than the other,” Bhamara said in a statement after his selection.
National coach S. Baskar said Bhamara’s selection could be a game-changer for basketball in India.
“We are all happy for Satnam and it’s a big day for the Indian basketball fraternity,” Baskar was quoted as saying by The Times of India. “It’s always good to play for a foreign club. They are more professional and the leagues are conducted in a more organized way.”