Indian origin NBA cager Sim Bhullar keen to help Indian basketball
The first player of Indian descent to feature in National Basketball Association (NBA), Canadian Sim Bhullar is eager to do his bit in developing the sport in India and believes his feat will motivate budding cagers to realise their dreams of playing in the big league.
New Delhi: The first player of Indian descent to feature in National Basketball Association (NBA), Canadian Sim Bhullar is eager to do his bit in developing the sport in India and believes his feat will motivate budding cagers to realise their dreams of playing in the big league.
Bhullar, whose actual name is Gursimran Bhullar, currently plays for the Reno Bighorns, an affiliate team of Sacramento Kings, owned by Indian origin Vivek Ranadive, in the NBA Development League (D-League).
Born in Canada to parents who migrated from Amritsar in Punjab, Bhullar, who stands at seven feet and five inches, became the first player of Indian descent to sign an NBA contract last year when Kings roped him in for its development team.
"It feels great to be the first one (Indian) to make it to the big league. This gave me faith in myself. I know this would would set the platform for Indians to play in the NBA after me," Bhullar said from Toronto.
Bhullar, who last visited India six years ago, has plans to visit the country in future and work towards developing the game here.
"I mean, I definitely do want to give much to sport at the end. The NBA is working on that now. I definitely do want to come back to India and do some good things. I want to help the kids develop and grow the game over there and hopefully, open up a couple of more basketball courts, do stuff like that. Just grow the game for the community," said Bhullar, who is a Kevin Durrant fan.
"The best thing is starting them from a young age and starting a culture and community of basketball, giving them more opportunity to play, whether it is building courts or helping with their education of the game. For me, it's all about the early age, that's where kids really start picking up basketball."
Bhullar was part of Kings' pre-season training but waslater asked to play for its D-League affiliate, Bighorns where he made his debut in December last year against the Los Angeles D -Fenders.
"The reception has been great especially from the fans. The players were extremely welcoming and warm in their approach and were happy to see someone of Indian origin play with them," he said.
"A lot of the guys are asking me about it, just being there with me and taking my experiences especially going for that trip to China and seeing how everyone really embraced me and most people are calling me the 'Indian Yao'. It's a pretty crazy thing."
Although he feels he is ready to make the "big" leap to the next level, Bhullar hasn't set any timeframe.
"Personally, I thought it would take a while to get adjusted to the professional game since it's so much more different coming from college, but I'm happy with my progress. My conditioning is up. I mean I'm ready for the next level personally.
"I haven't set any timelines for myself. I'm just working on being the best that I can be right now, keeping my mind on where I am right now and being the best player that I can be at this level," said the 22-year-old, who is a big time Hindi movie buff.