The NBA added another check-mark to the growing list of countries represented in the league when the Sacramento Kings signed 7-foot-5, 360-pound center Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract, making him the first player of Indian descent to appear on an NBA team’s regular season roster.
The Kings’ enigmatic owner Vivek Ranadive, who is from Mumbai, sung his praises to ESPN.com when he initially signed him to the team’s training camp roster last summer.
“I’ve long believed that India is the next great frontier for the NBA, and adding a talented player like Sim only underscores the exponential growth basketball has experienced in that nation,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, the league’s first Indian-born majority owner.
“While Sim is the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA franchise, he represents one of many that will emerge from that region as the game continues to garner more attention and generate ever-increasing passion among a new generation of Indian fans.”
Bhullar, who was born in Toronto, helped lead the New Mexico State Aggies to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances and was twice named MVP of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. After two seasons in college, he declared for last summer’s NBA Draft but ultimately went un-drafted.
He was playing for the Kings’ D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, when he was called up Thursday and had been averaging 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game.
Bhullar could potentially make his debut against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans Friday. The Kings are well-represented from around the world, including Isreali-born Omri Casspi and whatever country Sauce Castillo hails from.
(vines via the Sacramento Kings)