Satnam Singh Aims Big in World Basketball
Satnam Singh, the Indian basketballer who currently plays for Texas Legends, is now one of the most talked about athletes in the NBA G League. On a recent visit to India, Singh said that exposure to international coaches is essential for the growth of basketball in the country.
Journey of a Village Boy to World Basketball
Singh, 21, towers at 7’2″, and is the only Indian basketball player in the National Basketball Association. He plays the center position for Texas Legends.
Singh says he initially faced a lot of problems when he moved to the US from India.
“When I went there (US), I couldn’t speak English,” the 21-year-old player who left India at the age of 14 with a basketball scholarship, told the Times of India. “I only spoke Punjabi. I couldn’t understand a thing and couldn’t talk to anyone. So I just went to the training, shut my mouth and tried to follow what the coaches said. I even avoided going out because I didn’t know what to do or where to go. Eventually, I took English classes and things are a lot better now.”
Singh also shared his feelings about missing his family members while living in the US. “It was tough going away from home as a teenager who had never seen much outside his hometown. So whenever I come to India, home is where I want to spend much of my time,” he said.
Future of Indian Basketball
Indian players are thought to have less physical strength when compared to foreign opponents, and this is widely considered the main reason behind the drought of international basketball players from the country. Satnam, however, feels that hard work and determination can triumph the lack of muscles, and with proper honing of skills, Indian players can perform well at international platforms.
“The heart matters – the work you put in matters, and you need to be ready to hone your skills and work on yourself,” he says. “Of course, if you are not strong, you can’t do much but that’s not the only factor. When I first went to the US, I was really skinny. If I look at my 2010 photo, I looked very different but I worked on that. I ate better and my coaches lay emphasis on lifting weights. Strength and muscles can be built. The game needs to be strong.”
Singh now aims to play against the top basketball stars in the world. “I have the game and the fitness,” he told the publication, adding that it’s just a matter of time now. “I want to show that Indian guys can compete with the best too.”