Amjyot Singh (30), Amritpal Singh (31) and Princepal Singh (21), who are in the city for the Senior National Basketball Championship, have a few things in common apart from their imposing height.
The Punjab trio represent the Indian team, and they have the experience of playing in foreign leagues. Having played in countries such as Australia and Japan, they know the value of a National League and the impact it can create on the Indian ecosystem.
Amritpal has competed in National Basketball Development League (NBDL) in Japan and the Australian National Basketball League in Melbourne. Amjyot has participated in the BJ Summer League in Japan.
The two became the first Indian male players to play in a professional basketball league outside of India in 2015 when they represented Tokyo Excellence in NBDL.
Princepal, on November 2021, signed a two-year development contract with New Zealand Breakers of the Australian NBL after having played a few games in the NBA G League earlier.
“An NBL is good for players. Hockey in India has a league. Players get good money, and are motivated to play well,” said Amritpal.
Amjyot, who is the first Indian national to participate in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Finals in 2016 in Abu Dhabi, felt that a NBL will be a huge boost for the Indian players as well as foreigners.
“In a normal 5x5 league, we can play against good foreign players. It’s a great chance for Indian and foreign players. Most people have a perception that India is good only in cricket and that India doesn’t have good players in basketball. We need an NBL to break that. Even smaller nations like Maldives and Sri Lanka have it,” he said.
Princepal thought that an NBL will help the Indian players and popularise the sport.
The FIBA Asia Cup to be held in Jakarta from July 12 to 24 will be a big event for the Indian men’s team as the top eight countries will qualify for the Asian Games.
The trio felt that the Indian men’s team has many young players and a few experienced ones and to finish in the top eight will be the target.