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Sim Bhullar becomes first Indian origin player on top US basketball team

” Hopefully I can help them fall in love with the game more and try to pursue it a lot more.”
By Arun Kumar

Washington, April 3(IANS):  Canada born Sim Bhullar has become the first player of Indian descent on a US National Basketball Association (NBA) team’s regular season roster with the Sacramento Kings signing him to a 10-day contract.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bhullar became the first player of Indian descent to sign with a team from the top US men’s professional basketball league when he inked a contract with the Kings on Aug 15, 2014, according to a media release.

The 7-foot-5, 360-pound (163 Kg) centre was a member of the Kings squad that captured the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League title in Las Vegas.

On February 26, 2015, Bhullar became the first NBA D-League player to make a guest appearance on a late night talk show when he joined the The Late Late Show with guest host Kunal Nayyar of The Big Bang Theory.

I’ve long believed that India is the next great frontier for the NBA, and adding a talented player like Sim only underscores the exponential growth basketball has experienced in that nation, Mumbai-born Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé said announcing Bhullar’s signing.

While Sim is the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA franchise, he represents one of many that will emerge from that region as the game continues to garner more attention and generate ever-increasing passion among a new generation of Indian fans, he said in a media release.

I’m excited that I’m going to the Kings because I have a good relationship with everybody there, said Bhullar after a summer with the Sacramento Kings, three weeks of private workouts in Southern California and a season with the Reno Bighorns.

I’m just happy that I can be a role model or a trail blazer for younger kids in India and all over the world, he told NBADLeague.com Wednesday.

Hopefully I can help them fall in love with the game more and try to pursue it a lot more.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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