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    Satnam Singh, India’s first NBA recruit, talks about fitness, game tactics and his role in a documentary

    AT 7 feet 2 inches, Satnam Singh Bhamara dwarfs almost everybody. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise for anyone who has seen this kid from Balloke village in Punjab grow up—his father Balbir was the tallest person there. The 21-year-old, the first basketball player from India to play in the American National Basketball Association (NBA), has truly justified the support given to him by his family, and the expectations of a society where cricket dwarfs other sports by miles. The centre player for Texas Legends is also the primary subject of a new documentary on Netflix, One In A Billion, directed by Roman Gackowski.

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    Beyond the genes
    It takes more than just genetic benefits to help a sportsperson succeed. Fitness regimens are key too. Satnam agrees, “Being tall alone doesn’t help. I had to train my body to be able to make proper use of my height. The hand and leg movement and the direction with which we pot the basketball—everything needs to be coordinated. Reaching the basketball hoop may be easy, but it’s important to focus on other
    movements too.”

    Scaling new heights
    Talking about the technical aspect of his diet and training, he says that it changes according to his goals, be it gaining pounds or slimming down. “I work out three times a day, fine-tune my basketball skills and lift weights once a day. Currently, I am doing cardio and improving my foot speed,” says the lanky Punjabi. Although he may have broad shoulders and long hands, Satnam ensures that he does not ignore his lower body. “It’s also important to keep the ankle, knee, shoulder and elbow protected at all times, as these are high risk injury-prone areas in the game,” he warns, adding that he trains at the IMG Academy, in Florida, during the crucial off-season.

    Tactics fantastic
    When compared to basketball players from around the globe, NBA players are right up there when it comes to height and strength. “Since I am taller than my peers, I usually play in the centre, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. While I have to dodge more players around me, I also have the advantage of height to pass the ball easily and block opposing players,” he shares.

    What next? “An NBA championship title of course! The focus is to remain consistent. I am also working on my English,” he says, candidly.
    One In A Billion airs on Netflix. Details: nba.com; netflix.com

    — Karan Pillai

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