Media Release: Indian basketball legend and Arjuna Awardee Khushi Ram passed away earlier this week. He is the father of former Indian captain and Dhyan Chand award winner Ram Kumar and Shri Asok Kumar.
He was awarded the country’s highest sporting honour, the Arjuna award in 1967. He is considered among one of the all time greats of basketball in Asia. He captained the Indian National Basketball Team in the year 1965 when it made its first appearance in the Asian Basketball Championships. He represented the Indian team from 1964 to 1972.
1970 was the best year in Khushi Ram’s career when he participated in the 10th Anniversary Celebrations Championship in Manila. At this tournament, he became the only player in Indian basketball history to receive the following honours:
1. The most valuable player of Asia
2. The most consistent shooter in Asia
3. The best centre player of the meet
In the same year he was again selected to captain the Indian team for the 6th Asian Games at Bangkok, but due to a severe eye injury at the training camp in NIS Patiala he could not participate. At this stage he became immensely popular in the Asian continent due to his spectacular performances and in this tournament he totaled a wonderful 196 points in the 7 games played by him. The unstoppable Khushi Ram scored 43 points against the then powerhorse of Asia and the home team Philippines, which is the highest individual score by any Indian player.
Born in Jhamri village in the Rohtak district of Haryana, Khushi Ram spent his childhood there and after completing his higher secondary education he joined the Delhi based Army unit ‘Rajputana Rifles’ in 1950 as a Boy Recruit.
He is known for his excellent sense of the game and amazing shooting skills, he turned out be an asset for his team and kept participating in all National level and other major tournaments in India. From 1958 to 1968, the time he was associated with Army, the Armed Force basketball team won the National title continuously for 10 years in which he was judged as the best player.
In 1964, Khushi Ram was selected in the Indian National Basketball Team for the 4th Quadrangular tournament in Colombo. It was his international debut. The very next year in 1965 he was named as the captain of Indian tam for Asian Basketball Championship which was held in Kuala Lumpur.
Though India finished 7th, Khushi Ram stood out as the highest scorer of the tournament and continued to maintain the same position as the 2nd highest scorer in 1967 ABC Championship in Seoul and highest scorer in 1969 ABC Championship in Bangkok. Countries such as the Philippines and South Korea offered him playing opportunities in their professional leagues.