Never thought I could be an inspiration to so many people: Satnam Singh
His is a story that has inspired and continues to encourage millions not just in India but all over the world. He is the first ever player from India to be drafted to the NBA (National Basketball Association) in the USA. Meet 21-year-old Satnam Singh Bhamara whose awe-inspiring story has been documented by New York Emmy winner Roman Gackowski in a feature-length documentary.
We had the honour of speaking with Satnam to know more about the journey and life of this young talent who is truly One In A Billion.
Being the first Indian who’s been drafted to NBA is not an easy feat. How would you describe your journey from a small village in India to the USA?
My journey has been a a memorable and unique one. When I started playing basketball, I was clueless and unsure about pursuing it as a profession. Not getting the right shoe size to not having proper facilities for training were some of the biggest hurdles I had to face.
Later, when I left my hometown to go to the US, I felt alienated for a few months. I learnt a completely different language, which was really hard for me. But finally, it all paid off really well and the struggle is worth it.
Remember that nothing worthy comes easy
What have been your learnings during this process?
One important thing I have learnt, is to never give up, no matter what and it shall remain with me forever. There are a lot of lessons I learnt along the way from learning a new language to getting better at my sport.
It was a tough time, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I learnt a lot in terms of communicating during my matches with my teammates and most important, my coaches.
I am still in the learning process and I believe, there is always room for growth.
How did Roman Gackowski approach you for the film? What were the aspects Roman set out to capture from your life?
Roman and the producer Michael, had done a lot of research before they came up with the idea of making One in a Billion. They believed that my story would inspire people. They thought that my story was worth being told.
They were more keen on portraying and presenting my journey to the audience, in a very heartfelt and simple manner. From my daily struggles to learning a completely new language, there were many moments that the world needed to know. There was a lot of thinking that went in making my real life reel.
I wasn’t uncomfortable at any point as I had faith in them. I am thrilled about the way the movie has come out so well. I hope people like it and take away something from the documentary.
It’s good to know that I am an inspiration to aspiring sportsmen
Was it comfortable having a camera around you at all times? Were there any challenging moments?
I am very young in terms of age and experience. I was not really convinced with the idea of filming a documentary on my journey initially, as I felt that I still have a long way to go.
Later, when we began to shoot, I was a little camera conscious and uncomfortable. Facing the camera was the biggest challenge I think, rest everything fell in place once I became familiar with the camera.
I have to say that it was a very novel experience.
Have things changed for you in any way post the documentary? What kind of response have you been getting for the film?
Post the documentary, people have started noticing me a lot more. The response to the film has been overwhelming. I never thought I could be an inspiration to so many people and I am humbled.
My family and the people back in my hometown were very proud after they saw the film. My coaches and teammates too, were extremely happy after watching the documentary. This has beenan incredible phase in my life and this documentary is making it a lot more memorable.
Not getting the right shoe size to not having proper facilities for training were some of the biggest hurdles I had to face
Your story is nothing less than inspirational and motivational. What message would you like to convey to the talented youth of our country, not just in sports but all across?
It’s good to know that I am an inspiration to aspiring sportsmen. Fighting every hardship to achieve that far-fetched dream is what makes the journey worthy. I have been through it, and once you achieve your goal, you know it was worth it.
Passion, hard-work and determination will keep you going and help you become what you aspire to be. It’s not easy, but its not impossible either. Remember that nothing worthy comes easy.