Frustrated with lack of game time, Satnam Singh leaves NBA to return to Indian basketball circuit

The 21-year-old has been struggling to become a regular player for the Texas Legends in the United States.

Indian basketball player Satnam Singh said on Tuesday that he is returning to the country to ply his trade after two years in the United States’ National Basketball Association circuit.

Singh had become the first Indian to feature in an NBA draft when he was picked by Dallas Mavericks in 2015. He played for Texas Legends, an affiliate of the Mavericks, in the NBA G League.

However, he struggled to get game time in the United States. Singh was grateful for the experience of playing in the NBA but is now back in India to “better my game”.

Addressing the media on the sidelines of an event organised by General Nutrition Centre in Mumbai on Tuesday, he said, “Wherever I have reached, including the NBA, the experience has been good. However, I didn’t get that many chances in the NBA. Now I am back in India and will play for the country and Punjab team.”

More game time

Singh is now looking to rediscover his lost flair for the game by playing for Punjab. The 21-year-old is looking to play as much as possible now given that he featured in only nine games for the Texas Legends. He averaged just 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds while playing just 7.9 minutes per game in the 2015-’16 season, according to this report.

Singh recently played a game for Punjab and was thrilled to be on the court for more than half an hour. “After almost three years I played for almost 30 to 35 minutes,” he said. “I felt so good and I literally surprised myself. It was a bit difficult but I pulled through.”

The 2.18-metre-tall player said that he focused on his fitness back in Texas and is thankful for the experience his NBA journey has taught him. “I played with upcoming stars, which help me grow,” he said. “Matt Robinson for example was one such player.”

Hoping to get noticed

Singh is confident he has the caliber and skillset to light up the Indian circuit. Given his time with the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Legends, he is ready to improve his game with the help of the Indian and Punjab team, he said.

But given the drastic drop in quality of opposition and teammates, is such a move advisable? “If I play here, I will get more game time and my game will improve,” he said. “I just want to play and work on my skills and moves. If I want to improve my game, I will need somebody who I can work with. I don’t care whether the player is an international star or a college player, I just need somebody to play ball with.”

Singh plans to showcase his talent and also record his own games so that he can send them to scouting agents and team owners. “In the NBA, hardly anyone saw me play. Now I will play for the Indian team because wherever the Indian team goes, scouts and team owners come to check out players. Plus, the game comes on television as well. I will record my game and send it to people as well. People will notice me.”

Playing in Australia, Taiwan?

With Sim Bhullar playing for Dacin Tigers in the Taiwanese Super Basketball League and Amritpal Singh featuring for Sydney Kings in the National Basketball League in Australia, is Singh also looking to join other leagues abroad? “Whenever the opportunity comes I will bag it,” he said. “As long as India players go abroad and play, only then we will become better. Only time can tell where I will end up playing.”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.