June 25, 2019

Ram Kumar: Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame

Photo courtesy: Punjabbasketball.org
For some, basketball just flows in the genes, giving them a natural magnetism towards the game, a magnetism that could potentially become a reality with hard work and persistence. One of India's most-respected coaches and accomplished former players, Ram Kumar is one such individuals, carrying on his father's legacy with the game, winning the Dhyan Chand Award, and now, landing up in the Hoopistani Indian Basketball Hall of Fame.

Ram Kumar was born in Delhi in 1964, the son of basketball great and Arjuna Awardee Khushi Ram, who was added to the Hall of Fame last month. Kumar's own basketball career began in 1983, when he played his first Nationals in Calicut. He moved to Income Tax and then joined Indian Railways in the mid-80s, which became his professional home. Representing the Railways, Kumar - an extraordinary shooting-guard - won eight gold, three silver, and three bronze medals over the next decade and a half.

Ram represented India's national basketball team from 1991-1996, and served as the captain from 1991-1995. During his peak years, he stood out as India's top scorer at many international events, including the 1995 FIBA ABC in Seoul. He played in several international Railway Games, test matches in the USA, and more.

After his retirement from playing in 2003, Kumar was appointed the coach of Indian Railways basketball squad, whom he has since shepherded to many more honours. He has served as coach of India's junior basketball team and continues to be a part of India's national coaching system, contributing to the training and scouting of players hopeful of breaking into the senior teams. Kumar is currently working as a Senior Sports Officer at Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala.

A highlight of Kumar's career was winning the Dhyan Chand Award in 2003 for lifetime contribution to sports, becoming one of only two Indian basketball players to receive this prestigious honour. Kumar was also handed the Maharana Pratap Award in 1989 and the Rail Minister Award in 1994. His illustrious family also included another former India basketball captain and his brother, Asok Kumar.

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

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