“Big Man” Bhullar Makes History By Becoming The First Indo-Canadian In The NBA http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=38736 TORONTO – It’s official! Top basketball prospect Sim Bhullar from Brampton, Ontario made history Friday in becoming the first Indo-Canadian player in the NBA after he signed with the Indo-American owned Sacramento Kings after being passed over in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft Thursday night. While critics were saying after Thursday night’ draft proved unfruitful for Bhullar that the lanky young player may have made the move to become an NBA player too soon, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé and General Manager Pete D’Alessandro signed Bhullar on Friday following their official drafter selection of Nik Stauskas during the 2014 NBA Draft. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Bhullar told CBC News of the draft process. “Not everybody gets to do it…so it’s an honor and a blessing and I just thank God every day for putting me in this situation.” Now that he’s defied the odds and been selected, the real work starts. Bhullar is not guaranteed an NBA job, but this is an encouraging sign nonetheless. The Kings will likely put Bhullar on their own conditioning program, and then it’d be a mild surprise if he did not start his career in the NBA D-League. That said, Bhullar’s goal of being an NBA player has been accomplished. He now has to figure out a way to get on the floor. He trained at the Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas, shedding excess weight and working on bringing more fluidity to his game. In workouts, teams came away impressed with his positive disposition, and he began to creep slightly into the second-round conversation. Standing tall at seven foot five inch, Bhullar, 21, is definitely NBA material but many scouts say that he needs an extra year of conditioning and learning. Also at his super-size, he is seen as somewhat of a liability if he gets injured. If he sticks on a National Basketball Association as an undrafted free agent, he would be the tallest player in the league. He would also be its first of Indian descent, which could resonate significantly in the South Asian nation of more than a billion people, the Globe and mail reported. Bhullar was studying at New Mexico State University, but “opted to leave school to enter the draft” even though some people felt “he was a long shot for the NBA as he didn’t yet have the speed, fitness or experience needed to go pro. Bhullar had to sit in a chair to talk to the reporters and for cameramen to properly take his pictures as he is huge. “Guys my size don’t have very long careers and you have to take advantage of it and do the best you can with the time you have to play,” Bhullar said. “I didn’t want to get hurt in another college season and ruin my chances. And I’m not the kind of guy that’s doing it just to make money right away; I just want to play at the highest level. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid, to play down on the court at the ACC (Air Canada Centre) and make everyone proud. My family is fine for money, this is about my dream. I want to not only make it, but make an impact.” At New Mexico State University, Bhullar reportedly got ‘Most Outstanding Player Award’ for two consecutive years. “Since high school, people have been talking about me being the closest chance to have an Indian player in the NBA. I’ve had the pressure that long, so I’m used to it now,” Bhullar reportedly said. “I think I could do for basketball in India what Yao Ming (the Chinese superstar who retired from professional basketball in 2011) did in China, be a role model for kids, open their eyes, and help them make the jump.” Bhullar is not the only basketball player — or giant — in his family. His 19-year-old brother, Tanveer Bhullar, is 7′3″. Like his brother, he plays centre. Bhullar’s parents, Avtar and Varinder, immigrated to Toronto in 1988 from the Punjab. But all the Bhullar kids were born in Canada.