7 Indian Basketball Players who Made a Mark on the Sport

We dive into the stories of the Indian basketball players who have made a mark on the sport both nationally and internationally.

Indian Basketball Players - f

he played a crucial role from 1964 to 1972

In the dynamic landscape of sports, there have been several Indian basketball players who have made a mark.

These players, through their dedication, skill and sheer determination, have not only elevated Indian basketball but have also inspired a generation of aspiring athletes.

We delve into the journeys of seven Indian basketball players who have stood out for their contributions and achievements.

While some have made waves nationally, others have ventured overseas, even making it into the NBA.

From breaking barriers to representing the country on prestigious platforms, these players have played a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of basketball.

Khushi Ram

Indian Basketball Players - khushi

Khushi Ram is a pioneer when it comes to Indian basketball players.

Hailing from Jhamri, Haryana, Khushi Ram began his competitive journey in 1952, representing the Indian Armed Forces in various national-level tournaments.

With his exceptional shooting abilities, Ram led the Armed Forces to an impressive streak of 10 consecutive national titles and earned multiple ‘best player’ accolades along the way.

His talents earned him a spot in the Indian basketball team, where he played a crucial role from 1964 to 1972, a period marked by significant achievements for the team.

Khushi Ram captained the Indian team’s debut at the 1965 Asian Basketball Championships (now called the FIBA Asia Cup), emerging as the tournament’s top scorer, an achievement unmatched by any other Indian basketball player to date.

In subsequent editions of the Asian championships in 1965 and 1969, Ram maintained his scoring prowess, finishing as the second and third-highest scorer, respectively.

At an invitational tournament in the Philippines in 1970, Khushi Ram once again showcased his scoring dominance, claiming the top scorer title and earning the Most Valuable Player award.

For his remarkable contributions to Indian basketball, Khushi Ram received the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1967.

Ajmer Singh

Indian Basketball Players - ajmer

Ajmer Singh continued Khushi Ram’s legacy in the 1980s, which is often referred to as Indian basketball’s golden era.

Originally from Haryana, this swingman relocated to Kota early in his career to refine his basketball prowess.

Singh represented Rajasthan University before catching the eye of Indian Railways.

His career spanned an impressive 22 consecutive national championships, representing Haryana, Indian Railways and Rajasthan, amassing a remarkable eight gold medals.

Standing at 6 feet 5 inches, Ajmer Singh was a key member of the national squad that participated in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, marking India’s sole basketball appearance in the Olympics.

Despite the team’s winless run in the group stage, Ajmer Singh, alongside Hanuman Singh and Radhey Shyam, delivered commendable performances.

Ajmer Singh led the team with an average of 21.3 points per game and also contributed 5.4 rebounds per game during the Olympic campaign.

His contributions extended to the 1982 Asian Games, where he once again emerged as the top scorer, guiding India to an eighth-place finish.

In recognition of his achievements, Ajmer Singh received the prestigious Arjuna Award from the Indian government in 1982.

Satnam Singh Bhamara

Indian Basketball Players - satnam

Satnam Singh Bhamara is arguably the biggest name to come out of India as he is the first Indian-born player to be drafted into the NBA.

Born in the Punjab village of Ballo Ke, Bhamara began playing basketball at a young age and joined the Ludhiana Basketball Academy.

After winning a scholarship at the IMG Academy in Florida in 2010, Satnam Singh Bhamara made the most of the opportunity to grow as a player under the watchful eyes of the coaches there.

He made history when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Standing at 7 feet 2 inches tall, his selection marked a significant moment for Indian basketball and garnered widespread attention.

Although Satnam Singh’s time on the court during NBA games was limited, he spent developmental time with the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks’ NBA G League affiliate.

He also participated in various NBA Summer League games, showcasing his skills and potential.

Bhamara’s journey to the NBA inspired a new generation of Indian basketball players and even had a Netflix documentary titled One in a Billion.

Bhamara has since transitioned into professional wrestling.

Amjyot Singh Gill

Indian Basketball Players - gill

Amjyot Singh Gill is the most recognisable face of Indian basketball when it comes to the current generation.

Born in Chandigarh, Gill played for various domestic teams, including the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) and the ONGC Basketball Team.

He made his international debut in 2011 as an 18-year-old and has gone on to become a key player.

In the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup, Gill played a crucial role as India beat hosts China for the first time in their history.

Gill is also among the few Indian basketball players who have gone overseas to play.

He had stints with the Tokyo Excellence in Japan’s B.League and the Oklahoma City Blue in the NBA G League, showcasing his skills on a global stage.

Gill was in the 2014 NBA draft but went undrafted.

Gill currently plays for Rwandan side Patriots BBC.

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi

Indian Basketball Players - vish

Uttar Pradesh’s Vishesh Bhriguvanshi has been a standout player in India’s domestic basketball scene.

He has represented teams like the Indian Railways and Uttarakhand in domestic tournaments like the National Basketball Championship and the Federation Cup.

His scoring ability, court vision and leadership have made him a key player for these teams.

Bhriguvanshi has also been a mainstay of the Indian national team, representing the country in the FIBA Asia Cup, the Asian Games and the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

Like other Indian basketball players, Bhriguvanshi went overseas to play.

In 2017, he signed a one-year training deal with the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian National Basketball League, becoming the league’s first Indian player.

However, he did play a game for the 36ers during the 2017-18 NBL season.

Vishesh Bhriguvanshi is not only known for his on-court skills but also for his leadership qualities.

He has served as the captain of the Indian national team, leading by example and inspiring his teammates to perform at their best.

Joginder Singh Saharan

Coming from a sporting family, basketball came easy for Joginder Singh Saharan.

On the domestic scene, Saharan played for the likes of the Indian Railways and Haryana.

He has been a pivotal player in the national basketball circuit, known for his tenacity, defensive prowess, and court vision.

Saharan has also been a key member of the national side, having captained them.

He has represented India in events such as the FIBA Asia Cup, the Asian Games and the South Asian Games.

One of Saharan’s most notable attributes is his leadership on the court, guiding and motivating his teammates with his experience and strategic play.

Palpreet Singh Brar

Punjab-born Palpreet Singh Brar is known for his scoring ability, athleticism and defensive skills.

He has played for various domestic teams, including the Punjab Basketball Association and Delhi Capitals in the United Basketball Alliance Pro Basketball League.

In 2016, Palpreet Singh made history by becoming the first Indian-born player to be selected in the NBA G League Draft. He was picked by the Long Island Nets, the G League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.

Palpreet Singh has represented India in international competitions.

He has also participated in NBA Basketball Without Borders (BWB) camps, where young talents from around the world receive training and exposure to NBA coaches and scouts.

His participation in such camps has helped raise awareness about Indian basketball talent internationally.

The stories of these seven Indian basketball players serve as a testament to the growth and potential of basketball in India.

Their journeys are not just tales of personal success but also narratives of resilience, dedication, and passion for the sport.

As they continue to inspire young athletes and pave the way for the future of Indian basketball, their impact goes beyond the courts, shaping the narrative of sportsmanship, teamwork and determination.

Through their remarkable achievements, these players have not only made a mark on the sport but have also etched their names in the hearts of basketball enthusiasts across the nation.

Dhiren is a News & Content Editor who loves all things football. He also has a passion for gaming and watching films. His motto is to "Live life one day at a time".

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