Pakistani Basketballer Aims High in an American Team
Pakistani-descent Shaan Rahi, a lanky basketball player aiming for college basketball in the United States, could become one of the few of South Asians to do so. Five years ago while visiting his father’s hometown in Pakistan, Shaan had a pleasant experience on a basketball court in Sahiwal, a town just outside Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province. He says the experience on the court while in Pakistan serves as a driving force for his success in the United States. When basketball team Herricks goes through its warm-ups before games, it’s not uncommon for a satisfied grin to break out on Shaan’s face before the opening tip. Rahi, at peace with himself on the court – and in the classroom – averaged 15 points for Herricks. He had season highs of 32 points and 19 rebounds in a game against New Hyde Park. His father recalled the way that South Asians adopt “cricket diplomacy” to unite people during significant international matches. Pakistan is home to some of the world’s best cricket players. But where cricket is a relic of English colonial rule, basketball is a sport whose growth in the region has been built on the growing popularity of the NBA worldwide.