Sunday, June 28, 2015
The National Basketball Association draft was last week. As ImmigrationProf blog has highlighted, the NBA has increasingly gone international. The draft reflected thius and Satnam Singh became the first basketball player from India to be drafted by an NBA team. The Dallas Mavericks selected the 7-foot-2-inch, 19-year-old with the 52nd pick in the draft.
Here are the details about Singh. Although Canadian-born Sim Bhullar became the NBA's first player of Indian descent last year, Singh would be the first player actually born on the subcontinent to make the league.
Singh was born in a village in Punjab with just 700 inhabitants. They nicknamed him "Chhotu" -- Punjab for "Little One." There were no basketball courts there -- his dad's wheat farm is 4 miles from the nearest paved road -- so he was sent off to a basketball academy at age 12.
ESPN reports that three of first seven players drafted are international players. The Orlando Magic took Mario Hezonja (Croatia) with the fifth pick after the New York Knicks took Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia) at No. 4. The Denver Nuggets made it three international players when they took Emmanuel Mudiay (Congo) with the seventh selection. The only year there were more international players taken in the top 10 was 2011 (four players). With the 26th pick, the San Antonio Spurs took Nikola Milutinov (Serbia). The Spurs have drafted nine international players in the last 10 years, the most by any team.