Sultan Of Swat - Amjyot Singh Is A Step Closer To The NBA

After a few days of rest between games in mid-November, Amjyot Singh packed his bags for a whirlwind of a trip up ahead. Singh and the rest of his NBA G-League team in Oklahoma City—the OKC Blue—boarded a bus that drove them five hours south across the Great Plains to Austin, Texas. It was a cold reception, as the local Austin Spurs won in an easy blowout. The blowout, however, was in Singh’s favour; he doubled his usual time on court, playing seven minutes and scoring four points in the loss. The same Friday night, with no time to ruminate, the Blue boarded another bus to drive them across the heartland of Texas to Frisco, on the outskirts of Dallas to play the Texas Legends. Head Coach Mark Daigneault took the team through the X’s and O’s. The Blue lost the next day; and Singh did not get to play. The next day the team returned to Oklahoma City by bus, and then cramped into the economy class of a five hour journey by flight, via Chicago, to the Grand Rapids, Michigan to play local G-League team, the Drive. The Blue, unwary of the travel, won the game. Singh cheered on from the bench. Another bus trip, and another connecting flight back home. They defeated the Erie BayHawks the next day.Singh played a couple minutes off the bench and did what he does best: stretch the floor with his three-point shooting. “Rest, and be thankful,” said William Wordsworth. In Singh’s case though, he had no rest, but was yet thankful. “The travels have been very exciting,” Singh says after his first few months as a member of the Blue. “Everything is new. I get to see America and get to play basketball.” “But the most interesting thing I’ve seen are the basketball courts. The most exciting thing is the competition.” Nearly three months ago, Chandigarh-born Amjyot Singh Gill, one of the finest players in the country, was drafted into the NBA’s minor league—the ‘G-League’—making a rare accomplishment for Indian basketball. The NBA is the finest basketball league on Earth, featuring basketball’s best and most famous players. The G-League is its far cousin: an affiliate of the league without the glitz, glamour, First Class flight tickets, five-star hotels, and international exposure. But for Singh, who will turn 26 in late January, each small step from the far corner of the OKC Blue bench is a realisation of his wildest dreams—as well as the dreams of cheering Indian basketball fanatics on the other side of the world.

About the Writer

Karan Madhok is a writer and founder of the Indian basketball blog HOOPISTANI. He has been a regular contributor for NBA India, SLAM Magazine, The Times of India, Scroll, the Basketball Federation of India, Ekalavyas, and more. He loves Butter Chicken.@Hoopistani

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