A tall dream made possible by a tall physique. Satnam Singh, a 7 feet 2 inches 16-year-old from Balloke village in Barnala, has used his extraordinary height to slamdunk a basketball to near perfection.
Spotted for his basketball talent in 2004, when he was just nine and all of 5 feet 9 inches, the Punjab Basketball Association imparted special training to him at its Ludhiana Academy.
The Reliance Group then sent him for training to Florida in the US. He dreams of playing in the National Basketball Academy (NBA) Championships.
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The National Basketball Association also selected him in the Indian U-16 team. He was also part of the national team that participated in the Asian Basketball Championship in China, where he emerged as the tournament's highest scorer, netting the ball 40 times.
Vice-president of the Punjab Basketball Association and SSP Rural police, Yurinder Singh Hayre, said that Satnam never consumes any supplementary food and takes a routine diet.
Satnam said that in Florida, he did face a problem in communication with the American coaches and other players. He added that taking extra classes in English, the issue was resolved. "I wish India develops its game so that we qualify for the Olympics."
"Initially, I want to play for college teams in the US. Hopefully, this will enable me to break into the ultra-competitive and the world's best tournament, the NBA," he added.
He claimed that his extraordinary height was hereditary and added that his father was also more than 7 feet tall. "My grandmother's height was 6 feet 9 inches," he added. On a lighter vein, he said in India his shoe size (21) was rarely available, but in the US, Nike sponsored his shoes.
Punjab Basketball Association secretary, Teja Singh, said that Satnam had emerged as icon for talented boys across the state. He added that the academy's gates are open for all and the academy would continue to work hard to spot talent.