Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive made history when he purchased the NBA’s Northern California franchise last year. Ranadive continued to break new ground and expand the NBA’s global reach Friday, when he reportedly signed center Sim Bhullar to a contract, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Standing 7-foot-5 and weighing 360 pounds, Bhullar became the first player of Indian heritage to sign an NBA contract. He will join the Kings when training camps begin in October.
â€” Sim Bhullar (@SimBhullar2) August 14, 2014
"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," Ranadive said in a statement. "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."
Ranadive purchased a controlling 65 percent interest in the Kings from the Maloof Family in May 2013, becoming the NBA’s first Indian-born majority owner.
Averaging 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks, Bhullar took New Mexico State to two straight NCAA tournaments. He went undrafted in June, but helped the Kings win the summer league tournament in Las Vegas.
Still in the process of a rebuild after missing the playoffs the last eight seasons, the Kings were in need of some more size behind star DeMarcus Cousins, who suffered a minor knee injury while training with Team USA Thursday. Bhullar will compete with veteran Aaron Gray for backup minutes in training camp, and throughout the season if he makes the final roster.