The rumours that began about ten days ago now been confirmed official: Sim Bhullar - the first NBA player of Indian descent - will visit India next week. NBA India yesterday released Bhullar's full schedule for the visit from May 2-7. Bhullar, a Canadian citizen, will visit Mumbai, New Delhi, Amritsar and Chandigarh to inspire and coach Indian youth. He will also tip off the first Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Elite National Camp in Greater Noida on May 4.
Bhullar, who became the first player of Indian-descent after he played for the Sacramento Kings in three games on a 10-day contract in early April, will visit India May 2-7 to promote the growth of basketball and inspire children to stay active and healthy by playing the game. The 7’5” center will help train the top 140 youth from across India who participated in the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA programme, the NBA’s premier grassroots event.
Bhullar's India Schedule
- May 2 - Mumbai: Fan interaction, City Tour.
- May 3 - Mumbai: Appearance on Sony SIX's IPL Extra Innings show.
- May 4 - Noida: Inaugurate the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Elite National Camp.
- May 5 - Amritsar: Visit to the Golden Temple and Pingalwara, a home for individuals suffering from incurable and terminal diseases, to which Bhullar’s family will make a contribution.
- May 6 - Chandigarh: Visit to Chandigarh to conduct a Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA clinic for 150 children at New Public School.
- May 7 - Noida: To celebrate the final day of the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Elite National Camp.
The inaugural Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA Elite National Camp, which consists of skills training, competitions, games, fitness training and team building exercises, will be held in Noida May 4-7. The camp is the culmination of the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program that promotes health, fitness and an active lifestyle through basketball, and teaches the values of the game such as teamwork, sacrifice, discipline, dedication and sportsmanship. Since 2013, the program has reached more than one million youth in 1,000 schools in eight cities. The NBA has also trained more than 1,000 PE teachers, and donated more than 15,000 basketballs and 300 rims to partner schools. As part of the program, NBA legends Bruce Bowen and Muggsy Bogues, and WNBA players Swin Cash and Tamika Catchings have visited Chandigarh, Kolkata, Kochi, Ludhiana and Mumbai to conduct basketball clinics for players and coaches.
Bhullar, who has family ties in Punjab from where his parents immigrated to Canada in the 1980s, has been to India several times before. This time - thanks to his NBA debut - it will be his most high-profile trip. The big man has always been the center of attention, but now as the first Indian-origin face in the NBA, it should be a triumphant welcome back to his ancestral homeland.