May 24, 2019

Jayasankar Menon: Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame

Jayasankar Menon has been crucial to the development of Indian basketball both on and off the court. As a player, he set new records for individual performances with the national team in the 1980s-90s. After retirement, he has been involved with the welfare and growth of the game as the IBPA founder and a coach. Today, he is named into the Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame.

Originally from Wadakanchery in Kerala's Thrissur district, Menon got his start in Kerala, but eventually came to be associated closely with basketball in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. In Chennai, he played for Southern Railways from 1987 and played a major role in the dominant Indian Railways side from the late 80s to the 90s that were always the favourites in the national championships. In 15 Nationals with Railways and TN, he won five golds, a silver, and a bronze.

On the international circuit, the power forward rose to become of the country's top players. He was the first Indian to be chosen for an Asian All Star team in 1997, was nominated for the Arjuna Award, won 2 gold medals for India in the South Asian Games, played in four FIBA ABCs, and captained Team India to the ABC in Korea where he was at his dominant best.

Over the years, Menon received various accolades for his influence on the sport, from the Tamil Nadu government, from Indian Bank, and more. However, despite all his accolades, the Arjuna Award has eluded him. He continued to play at the domestic level until his late 30s with Indian Bank. He found himself in controversy when a scuffle in 2005 left him with a 3-year ban on the game.

After retirement, Menon rebounded to give back to the game. He was the founder and General-Secretary of the Indian Basketball Players Association (IBPA), former member of the FICCI sports committee, and former director of Chennai's Professional Basketball Academy (PBA), among many more coaching and operational connections with the game. Menon is married to a former Indian national women's basketball captain, Prasanna Jayasankar.

Click here for more of the Indian Basketball Hall of Fame.

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