December 31, 2013

Indian Basketball Legend & Arjuna award winner Khushi Ram passes away


The man who was once called The Magician of Basketball in India, the legendary Khushi Ram, passed away at age 77 on December 29, 2013. Ram will go down in history as one of the India's greatest ever basketball players and - at his time - one of the top talents in all of Asia. A former captain of India's national Men's team, Kumar was handed with the Arjuna Award in 1967.

While we live in a time when basketball players in India rarely get the respect and admiration that the sport deserves, Ram was one of the leaders of an era when Indian basketball was on the rise. Ram was an integral part of India's national team from 1964-72, and captained India in 1965 at their first ever appearance at the Asian Basketball Confederation Championship (now known as the FIBA Asia Championship) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. India finished 7th at the tournament. He was the highest scorer at the championship (the only Indian at the Senior Men's level to be the tournament's highest scorer). In the next two Asian Championships in Seoul (Korea) and Bangkok (Thailand), he was the tournament's second and third highest scorer respectively.

Ram was also the father of another Indian basketball legend, the Dhyan Chand Award Winner Ram Kumar, and of the late Asok Kumar.

Ram was born in Jhamri village in Rohtak district in Haryana on August 7, 1936. His interest for basketball began at age 14 when he joined the Delhi-based Army unit Rajputana Rifles as a Boy Recruit in 1950. He made his debut as a youth player at the National Basketball Championship in 1952 representing the Armed Forces team. From a young age, he was known for his shooting ability - which helped him become an unstoppable scorer for the course of his career - and for his high IQ and sense of the game.

From 1958-68, Ram was associated with the Army. The Armed Force team won India's National Basketball title 10 consecutive years, with Ram leading the helm several times as the tournament's best player. In 1969, he moved to Kota (Rajasthan) to join Shri Ram Rayons. He represented the state of Rajasthan for the next five years in National Basketball Championships.

Ram's fame was at its height in 1970, when he dominated at the 10th Anniversary Celebrations Championship in Manila and scoring 43 points (highest by an Indian in an international) against the hosts Philippines.

After announcing his retirement he took over as the coach of Shri Ram Rayons Basketball team in 1976 and also coached Rajasthan's Basketball team for many years. Under his helm, Shri Ram Rayons became one of the best teams in India and won many All India tournaments.

Even until his final years, Ram was coaching basketball to students at the Modern School in Kota.

We wave goodbye to a pioneer of Indian Basketball, one of the greats to have paved the way for the path that all of today's players now follow. Ram received a lot of tributes for his achievements in his lifetime, but the most lasting tribute to his memory would be a concentrated effort by the basketball fraternity in the country to help India reach it's old glories again, and perhaps even shoot for a higher level than ever before.

18 comments:

  1. Heart broken to hear this news...I did not have the privilidge to watch him play ever but heard a lot of stories of his game..i think i saw him in bomaby once coaching the shree Ram rayons (Ajmer Singh team).. Rest In Peace ..khusi Ram

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  2. Rest in peace , you will be in our hearts always

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  3. Good bye magician

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  4. My heart felt condolences to his family , may god give his family the courage to bear this huge loss

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  5. If cricket had Sir Don Bradman as icon ,it was Sir Khushi Ram in Basketball ever before Michael Jordan ruled the basketball

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  6. I was fortunate to meet him in Mumbai 2 years back , we have lost a gem of basketball , RIP Sir

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  7. Shocked by hearing this news , it's a huge loss for Indian basketball

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  8. Khushi Ram ji was a perfect example of great basket baller , you will be missed Sir , RIP

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  9. For me more than a great player and a coach he was a philanthropist . Sir Khushi Ram always wanted to help under privileged kids in their upbringing through sports and education
    We will miss you sir

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  10. A team need not require to have psychologist if it has Sir Khushi Ram as it's coach , he was blessed with a great sense of judging opponents mind set. RIP Sir

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  11. I am amongst those luckiest people who had privilege to witness him playing. I bet Michael Jordan would never stop him if he played against Sh Khushi Ram

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  12. The Only Indian who could demolish opponents at international level What a great mindset he had , same quality is in his son Ram kumar who earned equal respect like him

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  13. Khushi Ram - The Scoring Machine of Asia
    Followed by his son
    Ram Kumar - The evergreen shooting machine of India
    Grand salute to Sir Khushi Ram for gifting India a great player to carry his legacy forward. Rest in peace

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  14. Such a warm heart gentleman he was , one of the finest player India ever had

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  15. I was shocked at the time when Sachin called of curtains and now at the death of Sir Khushi ram . He was a gem of person and a wonderful player .

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  16. The Gem of Basketball

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