India’s Satman Singh has become the first basketball player from his country to be drafted by an NBA team.
The Dallas Mavericks selected the 19-year-old with the 52nd pick in the draft.
The 7 foot 2 inches sportsman, who has been playing in Florida, is not expected to make the team right away, but rather will put in time at the Development League level.
For the moment, Singh is little known in his homeland, where cricket is by far the biggest sport and few follow the American National Basketball Association.
But could success in the United States change that, in the same way China’s Yao Ming galvanized interest in basketball in his country?
Making it big in basketball has long been a dearly held dream of Singh, from rural Billoke village in the proud state of Punjab, home of turbaned Sikh men and Banghra music.
He began practicing shooting hoops as a child, after a family friend spotted the potential in Singh’s height — he was already 5 feet 9 inches at age nine.
His lofty stature comes from his father, Balbir Singh, who is a gentle giant standing 7 foot 1 inch.
Back in 2012, Satnam Singh told CNN he was confident he could become India’s first NBA player if he practiced hard and put his heart into it.
He added, “I wish to become the greatest player in the world. I want to uphold the honor of India, the USA and of my coach and make basketball a prominent sport in India.”
Three years later, he’s made the draft — and he’s one step closer to fulfilling that dream.