Sim Bhullar has become the National Basketball Association's first player of Indian origin — and also its tallest — after being signed by the Sacramento Kings.
The 7'5, 360-pound rookie, who was a member of the Kings squad that captured the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League title in Las Vegas, got his chance as Kings' 10-day contract with another D-League player, David Wear, ended early this week. He is set to make his debut for the Kings on Saturday.
The 22-year-old originally signed for the Kings in August last year and had been playing for their affiliate team Reno Bighorns in the NBA D-League.
Bhullar was born in Toronto, Canada, to Indian immigrants. The Sacramento Kings' owner, Vivek Ranadive, is the first Indian-born owner in NBA history and has been promoting the game in the subcontinent.
In the NBA D-League, Bhullar averaged 10.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. He played two seasons in college at New Mexico State and turned pro after his sophomore season.
Bhullar isn't the only basketball player in the family. His brother, Tanveer, saw some action for New Mexico State this season, playing in 10 games. Tanveer measures 7'3 and weighs 335 pounds.
Bhullar, whose parents moved to Canada from Amritsar, played college basketball for the New Mexico State, the Aggies, as a standout averaging 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.9 blocks per game in 65 career games. He was a two-time Western Athletic Conference Tour nament MVP, helping his school reach the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2014.
If he gets to play even a few minutes in one of those five matches, it will be a big boost for players of Indian origin who are dreaming of making it big in the world's best and biggest basketball league. And hoping to be next in the line would be Sim's younger brother, Tanveer, who is making waves in the school and college circuit.