Kobe Bryant‘s global impact has been on display with the tributes coming in from all around the world. A Sikh temple in California recently held a special prayer meeting where people wore Lakers clothing to honor the late NBA legend.
As reported by The American Bazaar, hundreds of Sikh people turned up to Gurdwara Nanaksar temple in Fresno, California for a two-hour service honoring Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven other people who lost their lives in the January 26 helicopter crash.
Organizers at the temple noticed how the tragedy was affecting the community, with some so devastated they showed up to services at the gurdwara crying after learning of the 41-year-old’s sudden demise. This led to the decision to hold a special prayer service at the temple in remembrance of the sports icon.
Hundreds were in attendance as men and children showed up wearing Bryant shirts and jerseys, while many women wore purple-and-yellow salwar kameez – a traditional Sikh garment.
Amandeep Singh, an actor and member of the sangat local community, spoke to The American Bazaar about how the basketball legend had a specific impact on the Sikhs.
“He was a hero to the Sikh community, especially to children. He inspired many Sikhs to play basketball and chase their dreams,” Singh told the publication.
“He inspired us in every way. He was a role model to many.”
It was not just what Bryant accomplished on the court that inspired them, but his charitable efforts off the court that made him a special figure. The five-time NBA champion had a well-chronicled second act to his life where he mentored current players not only at the professional level but the grassroots as well.
“Another very big reason the Sikh community loved and revered him was because Kobe gave back to the community,” Singh said.
“He was doing seva (service), a very important concept of giving back in the Sikh religion and that is why we all loved him too much.”
Singh also mentioned how Bryant’s “determination, passion, and commitment” made him special.
Angad Sandhu, another person who attended the service, credits the Laker great as the reason he started playing basketball. He said that it was how Bryant conducted himself off the court that “really inspired” him.
A middle school student, Amitoj Singh, who attended the prayer service, mentioned seeing a young child crying after they heard Bryant had passed. The teenager acknowledges the basketball player’s global popularity but says, “Sikh Americans keenly followed him.”