Basketball courts didn’t care that Darsh Preet Singh wore a turban.
Or that he is Sikh.
Hardwood is a great equalizer. The court’s 10-foot-high rim does not discriminate. If you can handle the rock, you’ve got a place.
Even better if you can dunk. Singh could do both.
And his turban always suited up with him.
Blessed with a 6-foot-4-inch frame and a 6-foot-8-inch wingspan, he was a lock-down defensive specialist at Trinity University from 2004 to 2008. As such, he was also the first turban-wearing Sikh to play in the NCAA.
And now, the Smithsonian Institute is displaying his No. 32 jersey in its “Beyond Bollywood” exhibit, which showcases contributions of Indian-Americans. It opened last month and lasts through August 2015 at the National Museum of Natural History.
That his jersey is in the halls of one of the world’s most famous museums baffles him. He said his parents and other first-generation Sikh Americans sacrificed and contributed much more.
“When I reflect on the accomplishments of the Sikh community in the United States, I don’t feel like I did much. I was just playing basketball,” he said. “I didn’t think I was doing anything special other than doing what I loved. … I think I was just at the right place at the right time.”
I’m just delighted that it was my alma mater where this trail was blazed. I salute you, Darsh Preet Singh, as a fellow alum and as someone who respects what you accomplished. Here’s the Smithsonian‘s page about the exhibit, a WaPo review of it, and a nice interview in Faith Street with Singh. Well done, sir.