Originally posted on 3 Nov, 2017 on www.ubaindia.com
“With the 52nd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks select Satnam Singh”, announced Mark Tatum, NBA Deputy Commissioner during the 2015 NBA Draft, and history was made for Indian basketball. India, the nation of a billion-plus, finally had its One in a Billion talent drafted in the NBA. Since then, India has been looking forward to seeing Satnam play, but the only way has been to watch the Netflix documentary on Satnam’s incredible journey titled “One in a billion”. Now, thanks to the United Basketball Alliance, India will get to see him play in every game he plays in the upcoming UBA Season 5 on live TV.
NBA legend AC Green, Director of Sport at the UBA proudly announced that the UBA has signed Satnam Singh to a player contract. Green states, “I watched Satnam play in the NBA during his time in the United States while I was working with the Los Angeles Lakers. We are happy that Satnam has the opportunity to play in India in front of his friends, family and fans in the upcoming UBA Season 5.”
— UBA India (@ubaindia) November 14, 2017
Click here to watch A.C. Green talk about Satnam Singh playing in UBA Season 5.
Satnam played briefly for the Mavericks in NBA’s Summer League and spent two years with Texas Legends, the G-League affiliate of Dallas Mavericks. While he had limited playing time, he made an impression with his drive and hunger to get better. This will be the first time that Satnam will play in front of India on live television when he debuts for the UBA.
"I want to play a role in the journey to take Indian basketball to the next level,” said Satnam to UBA with pride. “I'm very excited to play in the UBA along with the best players from India and abroad. I've been working for an opportunity to show what I can do and this will be the perfect stage for me to compete at the highest level in front of India, to continue working to improve my game and to help grow the love for basketball here. I'm indebted to my first coach Dr. Subramanian, without whom none of this would have been possible."
Hailing from Ballo Ke village in Punjab, Satnam was just nine years old and almost six feet tall when he arrived at Ludhiana Basketball Academy to train under the tutelage of India’s legendary coach Dr. Subramanian, who passed away in 2013. It is no coincidence that he grew into a promising prospect under the keen eye of Dr Subramanian, who was so dedicated to his wards and basketball that he lived above the Ludhiana Basketball Academy stadium in a small room and shaped some of the best players in India including Satnam’s mentor Jagdeep Singh Bains of the reigning UBA Champion Mumbai Challengers, India’s NBA G-League draftees Palpreet Brar (Bengaluru Beast) and Amjyot Singh Gill (Delhi Capitals), and Indian team star Yadwinder Singh (Haryana Gold) to name a few.
It was a dream of Coach Subramanian to see a professional basketball league in India. His students who have grown into stars for India are finally getting an opportunity to play at the highest level in the country with UBA.
Satnam was awarded a scholarship at the IMG Academy in Florida in 2010, and spent the next five years honing his talent to a level worthy of being drafted in the NBA. His inspirational life story was the subject of a documentary “One in a Billion”. Satnam had few opportunities to play for India over the years owing to his training commitments and constraints. Having been focused on growing as a player amidst limited playing time, now at the age of 21, Satnam comes home to play in UBA and continue working towards reaching his considerable potential.
“Guys like this, this size and with the softness of his hands and his footwork, aren't grown on trees," said Dallas Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle of Satnam Singh.
For the intrigue he inspires, Satnam was dubbed as the ‘International Man of Mystery’ by Danny Ainge, GM of Boston Celtics. The intrigue he carries is magnified manifold in India, where he has the power to ignite a billion dreams. Having played in the world’s foremost basketball league, Satnam carries a spark of hope for all of India, which inspires and seems to proclaim ‘If I can do it, so can you.’
Being of a very young age still, Satnam has a bright future ahead of him and playing in the fast-paced UBA in a prominent role for a team will help him accelerate his progress. With the UBA having brought on NBA's legendary Ironman A.C. Green as Director of Sports last week, Satnam will have no shortage of expert guidance to help shape his career and take his skills to the next level. UBA also has an experienced coaching staff in Jody Basye (Director of Coaching) and Jon Kimberlin (League Assistant Coach), in addition to the team coaches to help the players attain their potential. UBA has also conducted two yearly US Pro Training Camps where the top players from India were sent to the USA to train.
This will be the first time India will get to see Satnam play a starting role on live TV in India. With this signing, UBA reaffirmed its commitment towards the growth of Indian basketball by giving the players an opportunity to play at the highest level in India itself.