My friends call me by another name, but you can call me VanCity B-ball Boy. I have been watching basketball since around 1988 when MJ23 set the whole world on fire and showed everyone what it meant to fly. What it meant to have a goal and drive towards it…that goal being the hoop and a nasty slam on everyone who tried to stop him.
Watching MJ23, Scottie, and the rest of the Bulls win a championship when they were my team was special…but not quite as special as it should have been. Not as special as when my local (I grew up in Ontario) Blue Jays won the World Series back-to-back and I literally jumped for joy. Something was missing. Something that would have me singing about it decades later.
That thing, of course, was that they weren’t really my team. They repped Chicago, a different city in a different country.
Then in 1995 the Raptors came.
Then this past year the Raptors became the NBA Champions.
I flew from my home in Vancouver to Toronto for the parade, tattooed the trophy and the Raptor on my leg, and spent over $3000 in total on the Raptors.
Basketball made my life worth living when I was a depressed child and couldn’t afford to play hockey but found friends on b-ball courts all over, and it really hit me deeply when my home team came into the league and I could watch them and say that they were mine.
I now want everyone in Vancouver–my adopted home I have spent 6 years in and came back to after travelling the world because I knew where my heart was and is–to feel that same elation I felt as Kyle Lowry rode by me holding the trophy on those big red buses and I screamed “SPICY P!” as hard as I could at Pascal Siakam and he turned to thump his chest and point at me in the crowd.
Vancouver deserves these moments with a sport that’s more accessible to the poor, more global and multi-cultural than most, and able to be played anywhere by anyone at any time.
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The NBA deserves a city like Vancouver whose first four seasons all saw higher attendance averages than six teams this past season in today’s modern NBA of higher attendance and skyrocketing TV viewership.