Canada-born singer Prita Chhabra was invited by the National Basketball Association to sing the Canadian and American national anthems at the Air Canada Center in Toronto April 4 before a crowd of 20,000 people.
In the audience at the Toronto Raptors versus Golden State Warriors game were about 3,000 South Asians invited by businessman Nav Bhatia. He has been celebrating the Sikh festival Baisakhi for the last 11 years by buying tickets at the Air Canada Center and giving them away to young South Asians who may otherwise not be able to attend an NBA game. It costs him $60,000 a year. "I do it to celebrate Baisakhi and promote our culture on the national TV networks," he said.
Chhabra said, "South Asians at the game came up to me and said they were very proud."
Chhabra always knew she wanted to sing. "I started singing before I started speaking," said the Montreal-born singer. "Other students were excited about getting their degrees, but it wasn't a big deal for me. I didn't want to be a professional, make lots of money. I wanted to sing and write music."