|REEL FACE:||REAL FACE:|
Born: March 10, 1971
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Born: February 5, 1968
Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA
Born: March 21, 1993
New Delhi, India
Born: August 8, 1988
Birthplace: Lucknow, India
Born: January 20, 1987
Dinesh Kumar Patel
Born: May 8, 1989
Birthplace: Lucknow, India
Born: March 24, 1979
New York City, New York, USA
Born: November 5, 1970
Born: May 17, 1955
Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Born: April 29, 1947
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, USA
Born: March 26, 1934
New York City, New York, USA
Born: October 1, 1929
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Born: March 5, 1966
Born: June 10, 1962
Hong Kong, China
William H.C. Chang
Yes. Like in the movie, the Million Dollar Arm true story confirms that most of the people around J.B. Bernstein and his two business partners at the time believed that the idea to use a TV reality show to recruit baseball players from India was absurd. "Right up until the day [Singh and Patel] got signed, everybody thought I was the dumbest guy in the world," Bernstein said, "as soon as it worked [people told me] great job." -KDKA.com
Not only was "The Million Dollar Arm" contest winner awarded a trip to America for a Major League Baseball tryout, there was also a monetary prize of $100,000 and a bonus chance to win $1 million (contest winner Rinku Singh didn't win the million). -NYPost.com
Combing the land from Mumbai to Delhi, "The Million Dollar Arm" TV reality contest awarded a prize of $100,000 plus a Major League Baseball tryout to the pitcher who could throw the most strikes over 85 mph out of 20 total pitches. The winner could take home $1 million if he could throw three consecutive strikes that were at least 90 mph. -MLB.com
No. Even though "The Million Dollar Arm" contest was essentially conceived by venture capitalist Will Chang and conceptualized with the help of partners Ash Vasudevan and J.B. Bernstein, he did not criticize the screenwriters for changing the story. "Hey," he said, "it's Hollywood." -SFGate
Like in the Million Dollar Arm movie, the true story reveals that J.B. Bernstein's business had struggled a bit after some of his big name clients retired, including Curtis Martin and Emmitt Smith. It was also around that time that Bernstein's client Barry Bonds was indicted by a federal court on one count of obstruction of justice and four counts of perjury in a steroid scandal. Though Bernstein admits that he initially went to India with monetary reasons in mind, he says that he also wanted a change. "I was just feeling so detached from this profession that I loved that I needed something new" (NY Daily News).
Recruited by venture capitalists Ash Vasudevan and Will Chang, together they created the reality TV competition "The Million Dollar Arm." Inspired by the success of former NBA basketball player Yao Ming and how popular basketball became in his native country of China as a result, the trio hoped that they would find the same success by discovering a potential baseball star in India. "You find a guy from a country that hasn't had many US sports success stories," Bernstein says, "and you bring that guy over, and [the people back home] start to follow him. All of a sudden the broadcasting and jersey sales start to hit." -NYPost.com
Like in the movie, Rinku Singh was the winner and Dinesh Patel was the runner-up. Singh, the son of a truck driver, had never picked up a baseball prior to the contest but managed to throw an 89-mph fastball. -NYPost.com
Rinku, a former junior national javelin medalist, was alerted to the reality TV show contest by Sports Authority of India's athletics coach Jasvinder Singh Bhatia, who encouraged him to take the risk. Bhatia knew that if Rinku won, it would solve his family's financial worries. Rinku had been just a few days away from taking his class X exams at Sports College, Lucknow, after which he would have pursued a career in athletics and javelin in India.
"Skipping the exams was a big risk," says Rinku. "What if I hadn't succeeded in baseball? Except my elder brother, who's a Black Cat Commando in India, all in the family were against my going to America." -India Today
Yes. Despite J.B. Bernstein's intentions of recruiting cricket bowlers (pitchers), both Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel had much more experience with javelin throwing than cricket. Rinku Singh was a former junior national javelin medalist and had only played cricket as a child. Patel had thrown javelin at school and won a gold medal in javelin throwing at the National School Games at Pune in 2006. The Indian Express
Yes, as indicated in the photos at the top of the page, Tom House, who is portrayed by Bill Paxton in the movie, is a real-life USC pitching coach/guru who has trained pitchers such as Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. Like in the movie, House worked with Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel in Los Angeles, where they received formal training on the mound in preparation for their audition with MLB scouts. Prior to working as a pitching coach, Tom House was a Major League pitcher, first with the Atlanta Braves and then the Boston Red Sox. He finished his career in 1978 after two seasons with the Seattle Mariners.
Not exactly. The Million Dollar Arm true story revealed that the real J.B. Bernstein owned a condo in Los Angeles. However, Rinku, Dinesh and Deepesh did not stay at Bernstein's condo. "We rented a house a couple of blocks away from the USC campus," says Bernstein, "and myself, Rinku, Dinesh and Deepesh all stayed there." -FilmJournal.com
Yes. Around the time of the events in the Million Dollar Arm movie, J.B. Bernstein met and fell in love with his now-wife, Brenda, whose former name was Brenda Paauwe-Navori. "Having Rinku and Dinesh in my life, and Brenda, changed me fundamentally as a person — from this agent who thought myopically about business," Bernstein says. "...you realize the importance of family." -NYPost.com
No. Brenda Paauwe-Navori was an aviation industry executive, not a doctor. At the time, she was the director of commercial aircraft sales and operator relations for Virgin Charter. She has since moved on and currently holds the position of division sales director for Embraer Executive Jets.
Not exactly. Brenda was not a tenant who was living in J.B.'s guesthouse like in the movie. "Brenda actually lived in the same condo [building in Los Angeles] as I did," says the real J.B. Bernstein. "I had a penthouse and she had a penthouse on the other side of the quad. So we met in my condo, not in the house that I was renting with these guys. But in essence, we kind of met the same way." -FilmJournal.com
Yes. "These guys got me started down the right path maybe for the first time in my whole life," J.B. said in a press interview for the movie. "And it's not that I was a terrible guy. I was just someone who had a very myopic view. I was very driven by business. The only thing I derived any pride from was success in business. You know, the biggest commitment I had ever made in my life was a dog.
So, I really, I was just kind of headed down this path and I felt like I was happy, and you know these guys [Rinku and Dinesh] being in the house, living with me, and really, I think where it first started was being in their villages and seeing their families and seeing how they were with their families, meeting their parents and their brothers and sisters, uhm, it really started to remind me of the importance of family and the importance of being surrounded by people that love you and that you love, outside of just what commission you can generate or whether or not you can get them in a Pepsi ad, and I took a lot of pride in their achievements, and I think these are things that really prepared me, not only opened me up to meet someone like Brenda and to fall in love, but to be a good parent to Delphi."
Yes. The Million Dollar Arm true story reveals that the romantic Indian-themed backyard dinner really did take place. "Not only did that really happen," says Bernstein, "but that's almost the exact sari I brought back from India for Brenda to wear. The only difference was that Brenda cooked that Hindi-themed Thanksgiving. But the guys really did suggest very hard that I should marry her." -FilmJournal.com
If the wedding photo below featuring J.B. and the real Brenda doesn't speak for itself, then you're likely not a big sports fan or you're too young to recognize Major League Baseball home-run heavyweight Barry Bonds (left) and NFL superstar running back Barry Sanders (right), who are two of Bernstein's former clients. J.B. has also worked with Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin and Wayne Gretzky.
Yes. After winning "The Million Dollar Arm" TV reality show contest in 2008, in November of that year Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel became the first Indians to sign a pro sports contract in North America. Though Patel was cut in 2010 and returned to India, Singh is still playing in the minors and chasing the dream of one day pitching in the majors.
Yes. In November 2008, the fledgling Pittsburgh Pirates organization was criticized for signing Rinku and Dinesh. "To be honest, it was not real well received," says Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington. He said that some people viewed it as a "publicity stunt" or a "marketing ploy." -KDKA.com
On November 24, 2008, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel were signed by the Gulf Coast League Pirates, a minor league team affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. They received a combined signing bonus of $8,000.
Both Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel pitched in the minor leagues. Dinesh Patel was cut in 2010 and returned to India. He went back to school, started competing in javelin throwing again, and also spent about two months helping the kids in his village prepare for the second season of "Million Dollar Arm." Rinku Singh, who was 25 at the time of the movie's release, still pitches for one of the Pirates minor-league affiliates. At the time of this article (May 2014), he is recovering from elbow surgery ("Tommy John surgery") and hopes to get back on the mound soon. -NYPost.com
No. Dinesh Patel, who returned to India after being cut from the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league affiliate in 2010, does not regret the experience. "The sport gave me a lot of name and fame...," says Patel. "Whatever happens, happens for the best. Being with my family also gives me a great deal of satisfaction." Patel says that the money he earned from baseball helped to lift his family out of poverty and paid for his sister's wedding. -The Indian Express
Both the real J.B. Bernstein and Rinku Singh visited the movie's set. "I never thought that I'm going to go see real movie getting made," says Rinku. "That was a totally different experience. ... You really understand what the process is and how much hard work they put in there to make a two hour movie. ... It was so amazing of seeing those technologies and how they work, making right-handed pitcher look like they're pitching left-hand. So, it was totally amazing." -IMDB.com
Yes. The real J.B. Bernstein is still holding the contest and admits that both the movie and book from Simon & Schuster will help to give the show a megaphone it doesn't normally have. He expects to see half a million kids participate in "The Million Dollar Arm" contest in the fall of 2014. "I think that the more kids we see, the more kids we're gonna find," says Bernstein. "There's lots of other kids over in India if given the opportunity could come over and be successful too." -IMDB.com
Yes. During an interview prior to a Pirates game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on May 11, 2014, Rinku Singh, who appeared at the game with Jon Hamm and the real J.B. Bernstein, commented on his onscreen counterpart portrayed by Life of Pi actor Suraj Sharma, "He has done a tremendous job, like, he copied it really well. You know, that's what we'll call an actor, and, ya know, I'm happy the way he did it." -KDKA.com
Further explore the Million Dollar Arm true story by watching a press interview with the real J.B. Bernstein and Rinku Singh. Also, view the movie's trailer and watch a Million Dollar Arm documentary segment that shows Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel trying out for the major league scouts.
Rinku & Dinesh - Million Dollar Arm Documentary
This Million Dollar Arm documentary
segment originally aired shortly after
Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel were signed
by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization on
November 24, 2008. Mark Schwarz follows
the two teenage reality show contestants
from India as they try to land a big
league contract. Footage of Rinku and
Dinesh's tryouts in front of major league
scouts is shown, and USC pitching coach
Tom House (Bill Paxton in the movie) is
J.B. Bernstein and Rinku Singh Interview
"Million Dollar Arm" contest winner Rinku
Singh and sports agent J.B. Bernstein are
interviewed just prior to the movie's
release. Rinku talks about being a fish
out of water in America, including getting
used to seeing public displays of
affection. J.B. discusses how Rinku Singh
and Dinesh Patel changed his life for the
J.B. Bernstein Biography - The Milestone Marketer
J.B. Bernstein's career as a marketer of
professional athletes is chronicled,
including the retirement of his client,
NFL running back Barry Sanders, and his
acquisition of Emmitt Smith and Barry
Bonds. Bernstein also talks about how he
functions on approximately two hours of
sleep each night.
Million Dollar Arm Trailer
Watch the Million Dollar Arm
movie trailer for the film starring Jon
Hamm as sports agent J.B. Bernstein, who
helped create a contest in India to
recruit potential players for Major League
Baseball. The two winners, Rinku Singh and
Dinesh Kumar Patel, were both former
javelin throwers. Bernstein's strategy was
criticized as a publicity stunt, as the
media waited to see if his discoveries
were major league material.