New Delhi: At 7 feet, Satnam Singh Bhamara has a quality that many Indians lack but is almost a pre-requisite to play basketball at the highest level. Height.
The 15-year-old from Punjab, who also has age on his side, is currently in Florida as part of his four-year scholarship at a sporting academy and is working towards his dream of becoming the first Indian to play in the NBA.
" I want to do in India what Yao Ming did in China," says Satnam.
With only one Olympic appearance since 1936 and ranked a lowly 58th in the world, it is no surprise that there aren't many takers for the sport in India. However, Satnam hopes to change that.
But, can the boy from Punjab really be India's Yao Ming or are these just 'tall' claims?
If Satnam's coach is to be believed he has the talent to bring India's presence to the NBA.
"It's definitely a possibility for Satnam to be the first Indian player to play in the NBA. He currently has NBA size. That's definitely going to be one of the first things that teams look at in the future," says coach Nate Vander Sluis.
He adds, "If he continues to work hard and continues to grow and continues to become a better athlete, continues to become a better basketball player, there's no doubt he'll be one of the first Indian players ever to play in the NBA."
Satnam is loving every bit of his Florida stint but misses home food.
"I really miss Indian food. I love my own food. Things like Indian bread and lentil soup, they are two of my favourites," says Satnam.
That, however, is only a small price to pay for the golden opportunity Satnam has.