If you're tall, basketball can find you. No matter who you are, no matter where you're from.
In 2011, Sports Illustrated estimated that a 7-foot tall American man, in fact, had a 17 percent chance of playing in the NBA. Outside the U.S., that number is harder to equate.
But the NBA's reach certainly continues to broaden, and the latest is Sim Bhullar, the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA team when the 7-foot-5 center signed with the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.
Bhullar, a Toronto native, was undrafted after playing at New Mexico State.
The Kings connection
Bhullar has already played for the Kings this summer, playing in just 10 total minutes in four games.
But owner Vivek Ranadive, who was born in Mumbai, understands the importance of the market in India.
“I’ve long believed that India is the next great frontier for the NBA, and adding a talented player like Sim only underscores the exponential growth basketball has experienced in that nation,” Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive said in a statement about the signing, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“While Sim is the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA franchise, he represents one of many that will emerge from that region as the game continues to garner more attention and generate ever-increasing passion among a new generation of Indian fans.”
The Kings will likely start DeMarcus Cousins at center but Bhullar is expected to compete for the backup job or playing in the NBDL in Reno.
Being tall, reaching NBA
Last year, Forbes Magazine took the thought even further by stating that being 7-foot and reaching the NBA was the world's shortest path to becoming a millionaire.
In that same SI story, which no longer appears to be live in the SI Vault, author Pablo Torre wrote “While the probability of, say, an American between 6’6″ and 6’8″ being an NBA player today stands at a mere 0.07%, it’s a staggering 17% for someone 7 feet or taller.”
NBA scouts acknowledge the truth behind it.
“I’ll check up on anyone over 7 feet that’s breathing,” NBA scouting director Ryan Blake told Torre.
Either way, it pays well. The average NBA player made $2.5 million in 2013 and was 6-foot-7, according to Forbes.
While Sim's height is impressive, he isn't along. Sim's brother, 7-3 Tanveer, still plays at New Mexico State, though he didn't play last season, meaning he should be a redshirt freshman this fall.