'We the champs': Raptors superfan courtside for NBA Finals
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 10:46AM EDT
He wasn’t in seat A12 at Scotiabank Arena, but Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia was still close to courtside for the historic NBA Championship on Thursday.
Bhatia, who hasn’t missed a Raptors home game since 1995, was a few rows from the floor at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Even though the victory wasn’t at home, he was among a large group of devoted Canadians watching the game in person. Bhatia has become a bona fide sports star in recent years, garnering a New York Times profile and a Tim Hortons commercial. He was even spotted joking around with Golden State Warriors captain Steph Curry after the game.
Cheering on the Raptors is still front and centre for the man, who recalled the moment in the same Oakland arena when Vince Carter wowed with a “windmill” slam dunk at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game. Thursday’s game was another historic moment for the Raptors -- and Canada.
“It was so beautiful to see over 2,000 Canadian fans who flew in here for the special game from coast to coast showing how much Canada loves basketball,” he told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday, declaring “We the champs.”
“We were on the top of the world,” he said. “It still feels like a dream.”
The dream will continue into next week when the team holds a victory parade in Toronto on Monday. Bhatia hopes to be a part of it with thousands of fans.
“We all acted as the sixth man in this game -- and every arena we went in the playoff run,” he said. “We didn’t just win the NBA championships. We also now, I believe, from coast to coast, we are loving each other more because this has brought Canada together in a different and a better way.”