Satnam Singh (right) with BFI President K Govindaraj.

Satnam Singh (right) with BFI President K Govindaraj.

Bengaluru/New Delhi, 30 October 2015: In a heartwarming gesture, Basketball Federation of India President Shri K Govindaraj has pledged to monetarily support the family of Satnam Singh, with a monthly stipend of Rs 50,000/-. The 19-year-old Satnam Singh had made history earlier this year by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted as a player in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the world’s most competitive and elite professional basketball league in North America.

Mr Govindaraj made this announcement during a meeting with Satnam Singh at an event organised by NBA India in New Delhi on Monday, 26th October. Explaining the reasoning behind this decision, Mr Govindaraj said, “By overcoming numerous obstacles, Satnam has immensely contributed in putting Indian basketball on the world map, and continues to bring positive attention to the sport within India. Even though he is still very young, he has already shown himself to be a capable role model for other Indian youth to aspire and realise their full potential.”

Satnam’s story is a remarkable fairytale of grit, hope, courage and maximisation of innate attributes through proper training and timely exposure. The son of a farmer, Satnam grew up in the tiny village of Ballo Ke in Punjab. By the age of 9, he was already 6ft tall, and at the advice of an uncle, he was sent to Ludhiana Basketball Academy to hone his talent. At the age of 14, he was awarded a four year scholarship to train in the USA. He kept making rapid strides, while parallely returning to India during his breaks to represent his home state of Punjab in the national championships.

Satnam Singh with BFI and NBA India officials

Standing L to R: Carlos Barroca, Senior Director of Basketball Operations (NBA-India), K Govindaraj, President- BFI, Satnam Singh, Chander Mukhi Sharma, Secretary General (second from right) and Yannick Colaco, Managing Director of NBA-India.

He has also represented the Indian junior and senior national teams in the past. In this regard, he  clarified his earlier comments on his availability to play for the country. Satnam informed, and the NBA confirmed, that while his focus is on representing the NBA team Dallas Mavericks and its Developmental League affiliate Texas Legends, with enough advance notice he will be privileged to don national colours as long as it doesn’t conflict with his NBA commitments.

About Basketball Federation of India

The Basketball Federation of India or BFI is the governing and controlling body of basketball in India, and is responsible for the development and promotion of the sport at all levels. BFI has been involved in conducting camps, clinics, events, and training sessions at its academies for the development of basketball. BFI came into being in 1935 and took complete control over Indian basketball in 1950. Prior to that time, the Indian Olympic Association handled the conduct of Indian basketball championships. Since 1950, the BFI has been conducting various such championships, from the grassroots to senior team participation in international tournaments. In addition, the BFI has been responsible for the establishment of strong sub-junior and junior level programs. The BFI has to its credit produced several international players of repute, among them 17 have been bestowed with the honour of Arjuna Awards. Earlier in June 2015, 19-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara made history by becoming the first Indian national to be drafted by an NBA team, when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks. More information at www.basketballfederationindia.org

Gopalakrishnan R
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