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Sim Bhullar becomes first Indian-origin athlete to be part of the NBA

Washington: Sim Bhullar has become the first player of Indian-origin ever to be part of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Bhullar, 21, a centre from New Mexico State University, has signed a summer contract with the Sacramento Kings, The American Bazar reported.

Although he may not end up playing for the Kings when the 2014-2015 season begins later this year, he will be on the roster, and that marks an historic first for Indian-American athletes. Bhullar's name was not originally drafted in last month's NBA Draft, and that might deter him from playing for the Kings when the 2014-2015 season begins later this year.

21-year-old Bhullar, who is 7.5 feet tall and weighs 360 pounds, is a centre from New Mexico State University. Originally from Canada, Bhullar's parents hail from Punjab. His height is in his genes with his father 6.5 feet tall and his being mother's height 5.10 feet. Bhullar's younger brother Tanveer, who is 7.2 feet, also plays college basketball at New Mexico State. 

He proved adept at playing in the paint, averaging 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 blocks, and 10.4 points per game in his two-year career in the New Mexico state. Those numbers may not jump off the page, but they are solid and point towards significant potential in the big leagues.

In an interview with a Toronto paper 'The Globe and Mail', Bhullar said he wanted to make the most of it by dropping out of college after his sophomore year and enter the draft.

"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 was quoted as saying by the Globe and Mail.

"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," he said.

In 2013, the Kings became the NBA's first team to have an Indian-origin majority owner -- Vivek Ranadive. Since taking over the reins of the Kings, which was lying low in recent years due to less winning percentages and declining ticket sales, Ranadive has transformed the organisation into one of the better ones in the league.

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