They say you follow in the footsteps of your father.. sometimes it turns out to be your dream and what you really were meant to be; but sometimes, youre destined for something far greater than you could have possibly imagined, something that makes you cross the oceans, literally!
The Baby Steps
Satnam Singh Bhamara aka Chhotu born on December 10, 1995- the first ever Indian from the state of the 5 rivers, to have achieved the seemingly impossible- cracking the NBA. From a small village of 800 in Barnala district of Punjab, at the mere age of 9, Satnam became known for two things- his Empire State Building height- thanks to genetics and his impeccable skill for the basket, though initially the poor boy thought he was playing volleyball.
At the age of 10, his father enrolled him in the Ludhiana Basketball Academy where under Talwinderjit Singh, the young boy grew both physically and skillfully and was exposed to professional basket through National Basketball Association. He grew to idolize Kobe Bryant, Yao Ming and Dwight Howard. His national star happened to be an alumni- Jagdeep Singh Bains.
The Rebellious Years
Like superheroes that we always fantasize about, The International Management Group Reliance or IMGR, because the name itself is a mouthful, along with Harish Sharma, BFIs head coach who found Satnam after his National Championship win in June 2010, that sent him to boot camp for basketball in Singapore, proved to be Satnams superheroes in action. The partnership between IMG and reliance gave birth to a Sports and Entertainment Company that provided an amazing opportunity to Satnam to play in Bradenton-based IMG academy on full scholarship, a school which had produced Kobe Bryant, one of his idols.
Despite coming from a household that couldnt afford lifes flamboyance, he managed to draw Troy Justices attention, director of NBA operations in India, even with his tattered shoes and 6ft something enormous stature, causing him to be shipped under full scholarship to Florida in September 2010.
Satnam was denied scholarship to NCAA- National Collegiate Athletic Association due to his non-existent English skills, something which he had no control over, he got into NBA as part of the hand-picked assortment by Dallas Mavericks on June 25,2015. In his debut season, he spent 150 minutes in court scoring 29 points.
The man had broken several records, one of them being the first youngest post graduate without actually being an under graduate. On October 31, 2015- he was taken up by The Texas Legends, an affiliate of the Mavericks and gave his best, proving that when the mind is set, it is a force to be reckoned with.
A boy of mere 14 years, achieving all that he has, leaves us spellbound. Opportunities come knocking at our door, and Satnam chose to answer it making him play at the 2011 and 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and at present be a part of The Texas Legends. Though his path is paved, many challenges await him that can only be crossed with hard work, foot work and dedication.