Sim Bhullar has become the National Basketball Association's first player of Indian descent, signing a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings, owned by Indian software magnate Vivek Ranadive, announced the deal Thursday. The 7-foot-5 Bhullar was called up from the team's NBA Development League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.
The 22-year-old center could make his NBA debut Friday when the Kings host the New Orleans Pelicans.
Bhullar was born in Toronto to Indian-born parents and played two seasons for the New Mexico State Aggies. He twice won Western Athletic Conference tournament MVP and led the Aggies to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.
Undrafted last year, Bhullar joined the Kings in training camp before signing with Reno. He's averaging 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks in the Bighorns' fast-paced system.
Although conditioning has been a concern for the 350-pound player, Kings coach George Karl said Bhullar could add “a very interesting dimension to the game.” ESPN.com reported Thursday that Bhullar has lost over 30 pounds since weighing over 400 pounds during summer league play last year.
“Our game is becoming an international game and India is becoming one of the greatest, largest, biggest democracies in the world. I think it's a good story and hopefully we'll find some minutes for him,” Karl told ESPN.com.
Al Jazeera and wire services