Sim Bhullar last night became the first player of Indian descent to play in an NBA game.
Bhullar entered the game with just 16 seconds left as his Sacramento Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 116 – 111.
As AsAmNews reported one week ago, Bhullar was signed to a 10 day contract by the Kings. Such contracts are typical to give untested players a tryout in mid-season without a long term commitment and to replace injured players.
The team which is owned by Indian American Vivek Ranadive has made a concerted effort to market to the 1.2 billion people-strong nation of India. The signing has generated considerable interest in that country and the Kings games have been televised in India since Bhullar’s signing.
At 7’5″ tall, there are a lot of reasons to be interested in watching Bhullar play. Bhullar’s first two games with the Kings were spent entirely on the bench.
The fans gave Bhullar a standing ovation when he entered the game, reported ESPN.
“I told him to enjoy the ride,” said teammate Omri Casspi, who is the first Israeli-born player in the NBA. “You got 2 billion Indians looking up to you. Be the best role model you can be and have fun with it.”
Its unfortunate his first playing time lasted just 16 seconds. He deserves more than to be just a symbol. The undrafted player from New Mexico State averaged about 10 points a game, seven rebounds and three blocked shots per game during his two years with the Aggies.
You can watch Bhullar’s 16 seconds of fame during the last part of the highlights from ESPN below.