Basketball can be traced back to the year 1930 when it was first played in the country. The energy of the sport highlighted its spirit and soon it began to attract larger audiences. The Basketball Federation of India was established in 1950 as the regulatory body which has promoted the sport since then. Many basketball players in India achieved greatness in their professional careers and excellently represented the national team on various occasions. Today, we take this opportunity to list some of the outstanding basketball players in India. Several of them played exceptionally well during the peak of their careers while many are dribbling through the courts attempting a basket on the legacy. We will cover the best Indian basketball players in this article. Here you go:
Ajmer Singh Chopra
Geethu Anna Jose
Here is our list of 15 Best Basketball players of India with Career Statistics:
Hailing from Himatnagar, Gujarat, Rikin is a budding Indian basketball player. His school coach guided him to play basketball as he played cricket until the eight grade. Rikin made his national debut in the year 2012 at the Asian Champions. Soon he was able to fix his spot in the national team and won a gold medal in 2014 at the Lusofonia Games. Rikin was also named the player of the tournament in the 64th edition of the national championships, held in 2014. Rikin is set to become one of the best basketball players in India.
Famously known as Yadu, the tall guy has a story matching that of several Indian boys. However, his role in that story has made him exceptional. When he was given an ultimatum by his father to either choose an academic career or one in basketball, his intuition drove him to attain the latter. Appearing at the Ludhiana Basketball Academy in 2002 for trials, the tall boy’s potential was immediately spotted. Thereon, he played incredibly well and not only accomplished a decent lifestyle but hit the list of prime basketball players in India. He currently plays for Haryana Gold of the Indian UBA Pro Basketball League.
Watch the best performance of Yadwinder on YouTube:
Born to an athlete mother, Amjyot was a sports enthusiast as a kid. He wanted to become a cricketer at first but an injury in his school days changed the course of his life. Both his father and coach then suggested him to take up basketball. His professional dribbling career began when he participated in the 2015 BJ Challenge Summer League, held in Japan. He became one of the first Indian basketball players to sign a contract abroad. Playing for the national side for many years now, he has become one of the leading basketball players in India.
The kabaddi turned Indian basketball player, Amritpal started with a big hit in 2015 playing from the side of Tokyo Excellence. Over the years, he has been able to gather massive fame for his speed and passing abilities.
He received the National Basketball Development League Champion title in the year 2016. After that, there was no looking back as he, along with other Indian basketball players, went overseas to establish dominance. In the 2017-18 NBL Season, Amritpal became the first Indian basketball player to be signed by an Australian team, Sydney Kings. There is no wonder as to why his name appears in the list of elite basketball players in India.
Watch the best performance of Amritpal on YouTube:
One of the popular Singh Sisters in Indian basketball, Divya owns a unique style of play. She has eight national medals to her name. Best known for her leadership qualities, Divya was trusted with the captaincy role during the 2006 Commonwealth Games. She is a leading Indian basketball player and has coached the junior national teams on various occasions. Divya recently received Rani Laxmi Bai Bravery Award from the government of Uttar Pradesh.
The man-in-charge, Akilan is the one who captains the national basketball team of India. Hailing from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Akilan has always been considered for leadership roles. Akila was chosen to play at the Sprite Uncontainable Game during the NBA All-Star Game of 2013. Throughout his career till now, news articles have often come out crediting him for crucial wins at the toughest games. His importance for team morale could be felt when India lost a playoff game against Lebanon due to his absence. His extraordinary understanding of the game has put him in the lead to take the Indian basketball ahead. Akilan without any doubt is one of the best basketball players in India.
Watch the best performance of Akilan Pari on YouTube:
9. Vishesh Bhriguvanshi
Vishesh’s Career Stats:
Small Forward/Shooting Guard
2017 United Basketball Alliance of India Pro Basketball League
Hailing from the city of ghats Varanasi, Bhriguvanshi has earned unique fame for himself. Rising through the district level tournaments, Bhriguvanshi made it to the national basketball team in 2009. Since then he has competed in many FIBA Cups and Championships. His best performance showed out in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge when he averaged 16.9 points per game in a total of eight games. The next year, Bhriguvanshi climbed another step on his success ladder as he secured a position in Adelaide 36ers. He is growing by the day as he appears on the list of best basketball players in India.
Standing out as the most valuable player on many occasions, Anitha sets a standard for many other basketball players in India. Though she was more inclined towards Volleyball in her school days, her coach’s suggestion to play basketball changed her career path. Today, she is one of the best basketball players in India, holding a record of 30 medals in national championships. Anitha is the only Indian basketball player to have played for the national team in nine Asian Basketball Confederation championships. Moreover, her excellent dribbling skills and sense of the game earned her the captaincy of the national team. She is the youngest captain of the Indian basketball team to date, achieving the feat at the age of 19.
Emerging as one of the top shooters in the 1980 Olympics, Ajmer has since been recognized for carrying an appetite for baskets! The Hindu once referred to him as the ‘Hoopster on a new high’ for his excellent shooting skills. By far one of the most famous basketball players in India during his time, Ajmer inspired generations to follow basketball. He received the Arjuna Award in the year 1982 for his incredible contributions to the sport.
A prodigy from the Ludhiana Basketball Academy tackled through some of the best Indian basketball players at the age of 13. Satnam secured an assured spot in the senior national team in the year 2011 for FIBA Asia Championship. Thereon, he maintained a regular presence in the national team. His career breakthrough was the 52nd overall pick up of the 2015 NBA Draft. Satnam has built a professional career playing for Texas Legends from 2015 to 2017 and St. John’s Edge since then. Anybody who follows the sport can proudly say that he is a leading basketball player in India.
Coming from a family with some basketball history, Geethu found herself very acquainted with the game. She started playing with Kerala Junior Basketball Association to hone her skills from an early age. In 2002, Geethu began competing in international junior championships. Her flair for dribbling and rebounding made her shimmering star. As soon as she started playing in the senior women’s team, her performance outshone all others. Geethu represented the Indian Railways in many national level championships. She earned the captaincy of the women’s basketball team due to her impressive leadership capabilities. Indian Sports News named her the Face of Women’s basketball in 2011. Geetu has always appeared on the list of the best basketball players in India.
Watch the best performance of Geethu on YouTube:
4. Sozhasingarayer Robinson
Sozhasingarayer’s Career Stats:
2004 FIBA Asia Cup
Robinson’s feat at the 2004 FIBA Asia Cup took the world by surprise. A leading Indian basketball player in his youth, Robinson gained a lot of media attention. His exemplary performances were often overlooked to surround him with controversies. The controversies generally sparked due to his straightforward criticism of the national authorities that neglected proper support for the game. His playing charisma was such that Auckland Stars, all the way from New Zealand came up to offer him a position in their team. However, he declined that offer. In 2006, he retired from the national team and joined the Indian Army in 2010.
Watch the best performance of Robinson on YouTube:
Famously known as the Queen of Basketball in India, Shiba created a legacy matched by no other. During the peak of her career, Shiba marked her footprints in multiple international arenas. In 2002, She was ranked among the top 5 female basketball players in Asia. Appearing in five FIBA Asian Champions, Shiba became a renowned Indian basketball player. Her passion for the game and outstanding performance in the court inspired the generations to come next. She currently prepares the senior women national team as head coach. Shiba is also among the few women to qualify as a basketball referee.
A revolutionary Indian basketball player, Prashanti has earned a lot of fanfare for the game. Her track record so far signals a legend in the making. Starting in the year 2002, Prashanti soon became the woman in-charge of the national badminton team. Under her captaincy, the Indian team won all the matches in ’16 South Asian Games. Prashanti’s exceptional leadership has won the team 23 medals till now. Her extraordinary contributions made her the first Indian basketball player to receive Padma Shri in 2019. She was also bestowed with the Arjuna Award in ’17. Prashanti is among the most popular female basketball players of India. She remains the only Indian basketball player to have a documentary dedicated to her career.
Watch the best performance of Prashanti on YouTube:
1. Khushi Ram
Khushi’s Career Stats:
The Scoring Machine of Asia was none other than Khushi Ram. A Boy Recruit in the Indian Army, Khushi chanced upon the virtue of discipline at a tender age. When Subedar Moolchand identified a perfect fit in a 6’4 feet tall boy, he began training him. Soon, Khushi started representing the Indian Army in the national level championships. The audience to the sport stood awestruck while seeing him play. One basket after another, Khushi only learned to gather points. An extraordinary record was set for the Armed Forces basketball team, as it won the national title for ten years straight from 1958 to 1968.
Khushi was chosen as the captain of the Indian basketball team for its first appearance in the 1965 Asian Basketball Championship. Though the team couldn’t showcase a good performance, Khushi stood out as the highest scorer of the tournament. His legendary feats did not end here.
He was the only Indian basketball player to maintain the top scorer ranks in the ABC Champions. Khushi’s most legendary performance was noted in the 10th Anniversary Celebrations Championship in Manilla. He managed to score 196 points in 7 games, highest by any Indian basketball player to date. Khushi was honored with three incredible titles at this meet. Moreover, the Philipino legend Lauro Mumar remarked Khushi saying, “Give us Khushi Ram and we will conquer the entire world.” Many reporters across the world named him the Magician of Basketball. The greatest among all the basketball players of India, Khushi passed away in the year 2013.
Watch the best performance of Khushi on YouTube:
Here is a list of the best Indian basketball players. Which ones are your favorites?
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