Jasman Sangha likes to say “Surrey made me, but Brampton raised me.” Now, as the 22-year-old heads to Texas to play NCAA basketball, he hopes his success will inspire Punjabi youth in both of his hometowns.
“It’s very hard to reach to reach this point, I mean, there’s not a lot of division one players that are that are Indian, that are Sikh Punjabi, and to be one of the very few it’s even harder because no one has done it,” he says.
“So, I’m going to have to go through the trials and tribulations that some people in the future won’t have to go through got to go through because I went through it.”
Sangha, who is 6’8″ tall, will be playing Division 1 ball for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this fall. But even though he’ll be thousands of kilometres away he plans to stay connected to the communities he comes from.
“I still have deep ties to Surrey, and there’s a lot of kids in Surrey that look up to me. I feel like I could be a helping hand to them whenever they need some advice — I’ll be there for them. Same with Brampton,” he says.
“I just want to be that one guy that motivates them to, to, to achieve things that seem impossible.”
He hopes his success will make him a positive role model, and show kids that other paths are possible.
“I grew up with a lot of guys who used to fight every day, do drugs every day. And I just got out of the way of that,” he says.
“Me going to play NCAA it’s a big step, not only for me but for the community as well. They can follow my footsteps because I didn’t really have a lot of footsteps to follow.”
110% committed!! Ready for this next step in my journey. pic.twitter.com/O1pXnkt6Jq
— jasman (@JasmanSangha_) April 30, 2021
Sangha credits his parents and his older brother with teaching him how important it is to work hard.
“My big brother’s my role model because he, although he doesn’t play sports, he’s a very hardworking man, he’s about to go to law school. I just learned from him that if you just put your mind to anything, you can achieve it,” he says.
“My parents are both immigrants, they came to Canada when they were 20-something-years-old and I just learned from them that you’ve got to work for everything. My dad came to Vancouver came to Canada, only $5 to his name. I just want to continue making them proud.”
He says his family drove him to practices, paid for his gear, and took him to tournaments.
“They took time out of their busy lives to help me achieve my dreams.”
His spot on the team in Texas comes with a full scholarship, something he says will take some financial pressure off of his family.
“For them not to have to worry about me, it means a lot to me because they work a lot of long hours.”
Sangha plans to study business but remains focused on his ultimate dream.
“The next step for me is the NBA.”
With files from Prabhjot Kahlon