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The Towering Maverick : Satnam Singh Bhamara

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credits: mavs.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Satnam Singh Bhamara has just been selected by the National Basketball Association (NBA) member-team, Dallas Mavericks. He’s the really, really tall guy from Punjab who is a rising star in basketball.

credits: rediff.com
credits: rediff.com

NewsGram brings you the ten things you need to know about this amazing Indian.

  1. Satnam is seven feet and two inches tall and weighs about 290 pounds.
  2. He was born on December 10, 1995 and is only 19 years old.

    credits: mavs.com
    credits: mavs.com
  3. He hails from Ballo Ke, a village in Punjab.
  4. His father, Balbir Singh Bhamara is a farmer by profession, and is also 7’2” tall and his grandmother, from father’s side, is 6’9” tall.
    credits: mavs.com
    credits: mavs.com

    Satnam Singh with Indian actor Akshay Kumar credits: koimoi.com
    Satnam Singh with Indian actor Akshay Kumar
    credits: koimoi.com
  5. His basketball shoe is a size-22.
  6. His father introduced him to basketball and he was sent to an academy in India to get trained. From there, he was chosen among a set of 29 kids selected to spend three months in IMG Academy in Florida.
  7. He was recently chosen as the Dallas Mavericks’ 52nd pick.
  8. Singh is the first India-born player to be taken in the NBA Draft in the league’s history.
  9. Since he hails from a small farming village of Punjab, in the beginning, he faced some troubles with English, when he came to Florida. Later on, he became so popular that he was elected the homecoming king by his classmates.
  10. He is so huge that the ball disappears in his hands and he has an impeccable range which extends well beyond the three-pointer line.

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NBA will Invest Millions of Dollars in Basketball Africa League

The NBA generated $8 billion in revenue last season, according to Forbes, and industry players say audience interest in Africa has grown alongside the profile of Africans playing in the world's top basketball league

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NBA
FILE - NBA players take part in a training session in Johannesburg, July 31, 2015. VOA

The NBA will invest millions of dollars in Basketball Africa League, its first professional league outside of North America, and will be hands-on in its operation, a top executive said Tuesday.

The NBA, in partnership with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), is launching the Basketball Africa League in January 2020, featuring 12 teams from across the continent.

“This league will be fully operated by the NBA,” Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s vice president for Africa, told Reuters by phone from Johannesburg. “Our expertise and best practices will be on display.”

The NBA generated $8 billion in revenue last season, according to Forbes, and industry players say audience interest in Africa has grown alongside the profile of Africans playing in the world’s top basketball league.

Cameroon’s Joel Embiid, a 25-year-old center for the Philadelphia 76ers, has emerged as a top player in the NBA, signing a five-year contract with the team worth nearly $150 million in 2017.

NBA
FILE – Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid reacts during a basketball game in Atlanta, March 23, 2019. VOA

This season, Embiid and 24-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, born in Greece to Nigerian parents, are contenders to become the NBA’s most valuable player.

The NBA established an Africa office nine years ago. It held its first NBA Africa game in 2015. Games in 2017 and 2018 were played in front of sold-out crowds in South Africa.

Basketball Africa League will involve six national champions — from Nigeria, Angola, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Senegal — who will automatically qualify for the competition. The remaining six will come through international qualifiers later this year.

“It’s an opportunity through our partnership with FIBA to continue to strengthen the basketball ecosystem here,” Fall said.

He did not confirm exactly how much the NBA would be investing in the league but said it was millions of dollars.

African NBA players

As the NBA courts African audiences, African players have been conquering the NBA.

NBA
The NBA began in March livestreaming on YouTube two games a week for free for viewers in sub-Saharan Africa, in a bid to build a larger fan base on the continent. Wikimedia

There were 13 African-born players on the rosters of NBA teams at the opening of the 2018/19 season, out of the 108 international players. That rises to about 40 if players with African parents are included, Fall said.

“It tremendously impacts the growth in popularity of the NBA,” he added.

The NBA began in March livestreaming on YouTube two games a week for free for viewers in sub-Saharan Africa, in a bid to build a larger fan base on the continent.

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The league opened an elite basketball academy in Senegal in 2017 which, along with its Basketball Without Borders Africa program, has showcased African talent hoping to play for NBA teams or U.S. colleges.

The next step is for an African basketball team to secure an Olympic medal, Fall said.

“That day is coming soon,” he added. (VOA)