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How India's Nav Bhatia went from being a car salesman to being inducted into NBA Hall of Fame

What makes Nav Bhatia’s feat more astonishing is the fact that he is the first ever fan to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame!

Nav Bhatia (Source: CNN)

Nav Bhatia (Source: CNN)


Abhijit Nair

Published: 23 May 2021 10:51 AM GMT

The Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame announced its inductees last week. While the list included legendary names like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and more, one name which stood out in the list was Nav Bhatia – a 69-year-old Indian who has never played or coached any NBA team.

So, how did someone like Nav Bhatia make it into the prestigious NBA Hall of Fame?

Well, for starters, Nav Bhatia is a fan. Not just a fan, but a Superfan.

Bhatia has been a regular at all the home matches of Toronto Raptors since the team was founded in the year 1995. He has not missed a single match the Raptors have played at home and was rightfully included in the NBA Hall of Fame as a fan this year.

What makes Nav Bhatia's feat more astonishing is the fact that he is the first ever fan to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame!

Born and brought up in India, Nav Bhatia is a mechanical engineer who shifted to Canada due to the anti-Sikh riots in the country following the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.

Unable to find a suitable job even two months after moving to Canada, Bhatia finally took up a less attractive job as a car salesman. He was on the money as a salesman right from the word goes, selling a total of 127 cars in a mere 90 days.

This success as a salesman helped Bhatia grab a managerial post with a different dealer who was close to bankruptcy then. The Indian with his quirky skills turned the business around and turned into a self-made millionaire within just a decade.

After succeeding in his career, Bhatia turned his eyes towards his real passion – Basketball.

It was around the same time that NBA expanded and Toronto Raptors were included in the league as the 28th team. Bhatia purchased the season tickets for team and has since been a regular at the stands.

The Raptors were not a great team to start with, but Nav Bhatia stuck to his team and over the years became synonymous with the team.

His love for the Raptors was finally recognised in the year 1998 when the then General Manager of the team Isiah Thomas called him to the centre-court during the half-time of a match and declared him 'The Superfan'.

Besides, he also holds the distinction of being the first and only fan to receive the official championship ring when Toronto Raptors clinched their first title in the year 2018.

It has been more than 25 years since Raptors were inducted into NBA, and Bhatia still continues to cheer for them with the same passion as he did in their first season in 1995.

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