He is being touted as the Yao Ming — a retired professional basketball star from China — of Indian basketball. At 7 feet 2 inches, 18-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara of Balloke village in Barnala has many achievements up his sleeves. Currently he is completing his studies and basketball training at IMG Academy in the US. He has come to Punjab on vacations.
Satnam has been practicing with famous NBA players in the US and dreams to play for the Indian national basketball team. Satnam had secured his entry to Indian team when he was just 15. He had scored 41 points against Korea in a league match in the Asian Basketball Championship held in Vietnam in 2011.
Satnam said practising at IMG Academy is entirely different. He practices for 6 hours daily.
The giant had come in contact with the Punjab basketball association when he was 8. He was 5.9 feet at that time. The coaches trained him hard and he carved a niche in the Indian basketball.
His father Balvir Singh Bhamara, who is a small-time farmer, is also 7 feet 2 inches.
Satnam said getting the shoes of his size was a problem in India and he had to get shoes made on order. Later, Shaquille ‘o’ Neal, a NBA star, gifted two pairs of shoes to him. However, shoes are easily available in the US.
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar had visited the academy recently and met Satnam there.
TS Dhaliwal said Satnam was the tallest player he had come across. He said Satnam had a good body and was physically fit. “Indian basketball has high hopes from him,” he said.