Sim Bhullar happy with short NBA stint

May 03, 2015, 13:55 IST | Amit Kamath

Following a brief stint in his debut season, NBA’s first player of Indian descent, seven-foot-five Sim Bhullar promises to get even better in Season-2

His stint in the NBA with Sacramento Kings might have lasted just two minutes and 40 seconds but Sim Bhullar, the first NBA player of Indian descent is satisfied with his brief show at the pinnacle of professional basketball.

Sim Bhullar
NBA’s first player of Indian descent, Sim Bhullar is all smiles during his visit to the city on Saturday. Pic/NBA India

"Im happy with whatever I got. Its a blessing just to be in the NBA, playing an NBA game, wearing an NBA jersey. With the time I got (on court), I did my best, played my heart out," Bhullar, whose parents moved from Punjab to Toronto before his birth, told reporters at a city hotel on Saturday.

Marketing gimmick?
While some termed the gigantic, seven-foot-five Bhullars NBA debut as a marketing gimmick to boost the sports popularity in India, the Canadian said he prefers to ignore detractors.

"I dont pay attention to the negatives. I'm happy where I'm at and just focus on the positives," he said before adding that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and coach George Karl were satisfied with his performances, despite him scoring only two points in the three matches (out of five rostered) he figured in.

Team owner satisfied
"Vivek told me to keep working hard and that they would have their eye on me. I know theres the NBA Summer League coming up and they kind of asked me to do that. Coach Karl told me I did everything they asked me to do. Ive been working hard every day. They have no complaints about that. I had been proving myself in the weight room and on the court. There was nothing negative coming from them," the 22-year-old explained.

The NBA Summer League, which consists of the Las Vegas Summer League and the Orlando Summer League, is an opportunity for NBA teams to try out players from outside their regular line-ups. Bhullar was part of the Kings Summer League roster in 2014 too. He said his short stint with the Sacramento franchise was noteworthy. "When I played this time, everyone saw the change in me. I was more serious, my body was conditioned better. I was ready to go and was showing my coaches that I really wanted to be there. I was the first guy in the gym — everyone got there an hour after me. I was showing the team that I was a professional and really want to be at that level," said Bhullar admitting though that there was still a long way to go for a season-long NBA contract.

"I can improve in every aspect... my shooting and body conditioning for example. This summer I need to get my body right, look more like a NBA player," said Bhullar, who adheres to a strict diet that includes chicken, fish and less of milk, cheese. "I cant even look at Indian food. Ive got to make sure I eat healthy. If I want to get to where I want to be, Ive got to make sacrifices," he signed off.

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