May 6, 2019

Khushi Ram: Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame

The man who was once called 'The Magician of Basketball in India' and 'The Scoring Machine of Asia', Khushi Ram is remembered as one of the country's best-ever players, and one of the top talents in Asia in his prime years. A former captain of India's national Men's team, Kumar was handed with the Arjuna Award in 1967. Today, he becomes the newest addition to the Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame.

Ram was born in Jhamri village in Jhajjar district in Haryana in 1936. 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. 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 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'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 retirement, he continued to be deeply involved in coaching at the state and school level until his death at age 77 in 2013. Ram was also the father of another Indian basketball legend, the Dhyan Chand Award Winner Ram Kumar, and of the late Asok Kumar. In 2015, Ram was immortalised with a statue in his village of Jhamri.

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

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