It's India's 69th Independence Day today, it's the day where we celebrate the anniversary of when that the fruits of the labours of our founding fathers - Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, Bhagat Singh, Azad, and so many more - came to realization. It's the day that India began its tryst with destiny.
released a special Independence Day episode, where we gave listeners a lesson in Indian basketball history, capturing its greatest moments and highest achievers. We also spoke to India's former Women's NT captain Prashanti Singh. The podcast was a retelling of an article I wrote on this blog over five years ago, listing the greatest milestones and individual award winners in Indian basketball.
Since then, history has come closer to fans of Indian hoops, with steady development in the sport racking up new milestones at an accelerating level. With the most current state of the game in mind, here is the 2015 update. Of course, with 85 years of hoops history in the country, not every major moment can be captured. These are the highest of the highlights; feel free to suggest any other major milestones that should be considered in the comments section below.
- circa 1930: This is when many people believe that basketball was first introduced in India, through the YMCA organizations. It's believed that Kapurthala in Punjab is where they first played the game.
- 1934: The first Indian National Championship for men is held in New Delhi.
- 1936: The Indian National Team (The Young Cagers) become a member of FIBA.
- 1950: The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) is formed.
- 1951: New Delhi hosts first-ever Asian games. India Men finishes fourth (out of five) in basketball tournament. Philippines wins.
- 1965: India appeared for its first International Basketball Championship in 1965. The India Captain, Khushi Ram was the second best scorer in the tournament
- 1975: The Men's National team finished fourth in the FIBA Asia Championship in Bangkok, the highest finish for India in the men's division.
- 1980: The Men's National team participated in the Moscow Olympics but finished last in the tournament.
- 1981: The FIBA Asia Championship was held in Calcutta, India finished fifth.
- 1982: New Delhi hosts Asian Games again, India Men finished 8th of 13, women 5 of 5.
- 2008: NBA begins to send operations officers and former stars to India to increase activity in the country.
- 2009: The FIBA Asia Championship for Women was held in Chennai, India finished 6th.
- 2010: BFI signs sponsorship deal with IMG Reliance, Satnam Singh sent to IMG Academy.
- 2011: Geethu Anna Jose tries out for Los Angeles Sparks, San Antonio Silver Stars, Chicago Sky.
- 2011: Former NBA coach Kenny Natt named head coach of India.
- 2011: NBA opens office in Mumbai.
- 2013: India Women win gold at 1st ever FIBA Asia 3x3 championship.
- 2013: India-born Vivek Ranadive becomes owner of an NBA team, Sacramento Kings.
- 2014: India's Men's team won gold Medal at Lusofonia Games in Goa.
- 2014: India's Men's team beat China at the FIBA Asia Cup in. Wuhan.
- 2015: Satnam Singh becomes first Indian drafted to the NBA (by the Dallas Mavericks).
- 1961: Sarabjit Singh
- 1967: Khushi Ram
- 1968: Gurdial Singh
- 1969: Hav. Hari Dutt
- 1970: Gulam Abbas Moontasir
- 1971: Man Mohan Singh
- 1973: SK Kataria
- 1974: AK Punj
- 1975: Hanuman Singh
- 1977-78: T. Vijayaragavan
- 1979-80: Om Prakash
- 1982: Ajmer Singh
- 1991: Radhey Shyam
- 1991: Suman Sharma
- 1999: Sajjan Singh Cheema
- 2001: Parminder Singh
- 2003: Satya (Sports)
- 2014: Geethu Anna Jose
- 2002: Aparna Ghosh
- 2003: Ram Kumar
Indian basketball has come a long way from the time the first ball was bounced somewhere in the middle of Punjab to the same state producing India's first NBA draftee, 85 years later. Through the years, we have seen 17 players and two coaches receive Arjuna and Dhyan Chand honours respectively, played basketball in the Summer Olympics, hosted several major international basketball competitions, and shocked heavyweights China in a legendary victory. Despite its growth, the sport still feels like it is in its infancy in India; considering India's massive population and growing economic status of the middle class, we have sold much short of our true potential.
Hopefully, the future will be much brighter than the past. The Indian basketball family will be looking forward to a major professional basketball league, more young players following Satnam's footsteps into the NBA, and further international success by our national teams. For the present, however, let's celebrate our favourite sport in our favourite country and go out to shoot some hoops!