February 2017 \ World News \ NBA—INDIAN PRESENCE
“Care for Sports Stars Must”

He is the first Indian to turn out in the elite US National Basketball Association (NBA) league and has represented the country on foreign shores.

By Sugandha Rawal

“I have played with so many players in India, none of them ever called or sent a text to appreciate or congratulate me for my work. It is about the respect for the game and not about anything else. I want other players to promote the game in India as much as they can and get the attention it receives,” he added. The 7’ 2” Bhamara, who hails from Barnala in Punjab, created history in 2015 by becoming the first Indian to get drafted into an NBA side. A documentary titled “One in a Billion” chronicles his journey to become the first Indian-born basketball player drafted into NBA.

Bhamara felt the government should provide monetary help for sports infrastructure and promote the game in India. “I will continue to do my bit for promoting sports in India but the government’s support will be an added benefit. It should work towards providing better opportunities to kids,” he said. Hailing from a small village, Bhamara had to go through much turbulence, like the language barrier, to make a name for himself in sports.

Looking back at his journey from Barnala to Texas, Bhamara said: “I faced a lot of difficulty initially, especially in terms of studies. When I was in India, I didn’t know the importance of studies. “I used to go to the farm with my father or used to play. When I got a scholarship and came to the US, I understood how important it is to study. I saw players giving interviews and interacting with the coaches in English. Coming here from Punjab, I had to study English from scratch. I was lucky enough to receive help from coaches and teachers.”