Is AEW star Satnam Singh the first Indian-born to play in the NBA?

Satnam Singh made his wrestling debut at AEW Dynamite earlier.
Satnam Singh made his wrestling debut at AEW Dynamite earlier.
Adrian Carl Nicodemus

Satnam Singh made his professional wrestling debut earlier on AEW Dynamite. Current Ring of Honor TV champion Samoa Joe had just finished a brutal slugfest against former titleholder Minoru Suzuki when Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal, Joe's former protege, decided to crash the celebration.

Lethal gave Joe the middle finger, and the lights went out. When the lights came back on, the heels summoned a towering presence, Satnam Singh, who stood behind The Samoan Submission Machine.

Singh treated Joe like a rag doll, throwing him around the UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. Singh slammed Joe onto the steel steps and squeezed his head, with Lethal and Dutt cheering him on. The segment ended with The Black Machismo hitting The Lethal Injection on Joe. Singh then put his foot on Joe to impose his enormous presence.

#repost @gleaguetv・・・7’2 Satnam Singh is β€œONE IN A BILLION.” The former IMG Academy prodigy was the first Indian born player to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in 2015. He played two seasons with the Texas Legends from 2015-17

Being 7 ft 2 in and 290 pounds, did Satnam Singh ever play basketball? If he did, is he the first Indian-born player to play for the National Basketball Association (NBA)?

The answer? He's not the first Indian-born NBA player. That distinction went to Sim Bhullar, who played for the Sacramento Kings in 2015.

However, Satnam Singh is the first-ever Indian and Sikh player to get drafted by the NBA. He got selected in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft as the 52nd overall pick of the Dallas Mavericks.

He played for the Mavs' G-League affiliate Texas Legends from 2015 to 2017 and the Mavs' NBA Summer League squad in 2017. He also got featured in a one-hour Netflix documentary titled One in a Billion, which tackled his story and path to the NBA.

How did Satnam Singh transition from basketball to pro wrestling?

After his basketball career ended, Satnam Singh decided to try his luck in professional wrestling. In 2017, Singh went to the WWE Performance Center but stopped as he thought he wasn't ready yet.

Years later, he joined AEW in September 2021. He had been training with the company's school, The Nightmare Factory, in Atlanta.

During an interview with POST Wrestling, AEW wrestler Baron Black said he frequently went to The Nightmare Factory to see what Singh was doing. He thought the big man would prosper in the wrestling business:

"I think he’s gonna surprise a lot of people. He definitely has the ability and all the characteristics and all the tools needed to succeed as a professional wrestler and most importantly, he seems to have a passion and drive for wrestling which is a recipe for success with any athlete coming from any other sport because they already have that condition in them."
Former basketball player Satnam Singh signed with AEW back in September of 2021. He's been training at the Nightmare factory all this time.I think it'll be good to have him in ROH to see what he can do. #AEWDynamite #AEWonTBS

Satnam Singh is a massive presence and a must-watch, especially among Indian fans. It'll be interesting to see how AEW presents him moving forward. Singh's debut showcased him as a towering, intimidating giant capable of imposing his will.

What are your thoughts on Satnam Singh? Sound off in the comments below.

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Edited by Abhinav Singh


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