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Basketball: Indian players and officials who have made their mark in NBA

Here, we look at players or officials of Indian descent who have left a mark in the NBA.

Basketball: Indian players and officials who have made their mark in NBA

Satnam Singh and Vivek Ranadive


Abhijit Nair

Published: 24 Sep 2021 11:03 AM GMT

The National Basketball Association or NBA is one of the most-watched sports leagues across the world. Based in North America, the NBA is one of the four major sports leagues in the United States (USA) and Canada with a total of 30 teams.

Though in contrary to USA basketball has not really managed to develop into anything substantial in India, quite a few Indians have managed to leave their mark in the premier men's basketball league. Here, we look at players or officials of Indian descent who have left a mark in the NBA.

Satnam Singh

The name Satnam Singh needs little introduction for the Indian basketball followers. The now 25-year-old became the first-ever Indian to be drafted into the NBA after the Dallas Mavericks picked him up during the 2015 draft. Standing at 7'3", Singh was banned for doping in December last year and had recently announced that he will try his hands at wrestling.

Sim Bhullar

Sim Bhullar holds the unique distinction of being the first-ever player of Indian origin to score a point in the NBA. Though the now 28-year-old went undrafted in the 2014 season, he was signed by the Sacramento Kings on a 10-day contract in 2015. His only points in the NBA came when he recorded 2 points against Utah Jazz that year.

Sachin Gupta

Sachin Gupta created history recently when he became the first man of Indian descent to be named an NBA executive. Gupta was appointed as the interim President of Basketball Operations of the team Minnesota Timberwolves on 23rd September 2021.

Princepal Singh

Princepal Singh scripted history earlier this year when he became the first Indian to be a part of the NBA championship-winning roster. One of the most promising names in Indian basketball, the 20-year-old won the title with Sacramento Kings and hopes to register himself in the NBA draft next year.

Nav Bhatia

Neither a basketball player nor an official but Nav Bhatia is still one of the most well-known names in the world of NBA. A mechanical engineer by profession, Nav Bhatia is a super fan of the team Toronto Raptors. The 69-year-old has been a regular feature in all the home games of the Raptors ever since they were inducted into NBA in 2005. His first moment of recognition came in 1998 when the then General Manager of Raptors called him to the centre-court during half time of a match and gave him the title 'Superfan'. Nav Bhatia was also recently included in the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of fame – the first-ever fan to be inducted in the iconic list.

Suyash Mehta

Suyash Mehta is the first Indian-origin referee to officiate in the NBA. With his parents having immigrated to the USA in the 1980s, Suyash was brought up in America. The now 29-year-old was supposed to become a doctor but decided to ditch medical school for an NBA educational training camp in 2013 to become a referee. Having made his NBA debut in the ongoing 2020-21 season, Suyash Mehta has already officiated in more than 25 games.

Vivek Ranadive

Vivek Ranadive is the owner of the NBA team Sacramento Kings. The 63-year-old became the first person of Indian descent to own an NBA team when he co-owned the Golden State Warriors in 2010. He brought the Sacramento Kings back in 2013 for USD. 534 million.

Amjyot Singh

Amjyot Singh went undrafted along with Sim Bhullar during the 2014 season. However, unlike Bhullar who went on to play and score at the NBA, he was not able to achieve it. Amjyot Singh though played at the minor NBA G League for Oklahoma City Blue and the Winsocin Herd from 2017 to 2019.

Palpreet Singh

A forward on the court, Palpreet Singh became the third Indian to have an NBA contract when he was drafted by the Long Island Nets for the G League in the year 2016.

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