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SportsSuperfan Nav Bhatia unites basketball fans — even the Toronto Raptors’ opponents

20:06  28 may  2019
20:06  28 may  2019 Source:   thestar.com

Raptors and fans are the 'real Toronto': Loud, multicultural and hungry for historic win

Raptors and fans are the 'real Toronto': Loud, multicultural and hungry for historic win On Saturday night, fans like Yasmin Said will watch as the Toronto Raptors try to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks and earn the franchise's first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. Historic is not a big enough word. © Provided by Canadian Broadcasting CorporationSaid, who says she watches the game with the intensity of an assistant coach, can't wait. When everyone comes together over the game, she says, Toronto feels like "one big family." Raptors in uncharted territory © Morry Gash/The Associated Press Milwaukee's Eric Bledsoe attempts a shot in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final on Friday.

Nav Bhatia , the Toronto Raptors “ Superfan ,” has long expressed his appreciation of sports and its power to unite people. So when an overzealous Milwaukee Bucks fan directed racist comments against him during the Eastern Conference final last week, Bhatia chose the peaceful route over

Nav Bhatia has been to every Toronto Raptors home game since the team was created in 1995, and he expects the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors won't be an exception. But he's not leaving all the work to the players. Bhatia is looking to unite fans across Canada and calling on them

Superfan Nav Bhatia unites basketball fans — even the Toronto Raptors’ opponents© Rob Carr “Superfan” Nav Bhatia has been a fixture courtside at Toronto Raptors home games for decades.

Nav Bhatia, the Toronto Raptors “Superfan,” has long expressed his appreciation of sports and its power to unite people.

So when an overzealous Milwaukee Bucks fan directed racist comments against him during the Eastern Conference final last week, Bhatia chose the peaceful route over confrontation.

“I know we are in a heated series but I want everyone to know regardless of what one person has said Milwaukee and its fans are incredible!” he tweeted Friday.

The Milwaukee fan had earlier called him annoying and insulted his body and his religious headgear (the Twitter account was deleted shortly after Brampton East MP Raj Grewal drew attention to it).

Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia Targeted With Racist Tweet. Then The Tweeter Apologized.

Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia Targeted With Racist Tweet. Then The Tweeter Apologized. You’re about to read a story with the best kind of twist ending. 

Raptors and fans are the 'real Toronto ': Loud, multicultural and hungry for historic win. On Saturday night, fans like Yasmin Said will watch as the Toronto Raptors try to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks and earn the franchise's first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. Historic is not a big enough word.

The Toronto Raptors ' biggest fan , Nav Bhatia , spoke with Global News outside Scotiabank Arena Thursday morning ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the

Bhatia said many fans from Milwaukee reached out to him to apologize and express their support after the racist tweet. Bhatia said the person behind the tweet also phoned him and apologized personally.

“I felt really sorry, and I felt like he hadn’t seen the world at all,” Bhatia told Huffington Post about the person who wrote the racist tweet.

“He was a very simple guy who had never been out of Milwaukee.”

Typical Bhatia reaction, according to those who know him well.

“Literally one of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” tweeted Alex Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks’ senior vice-president.

Read more:

Q and A with Toronto Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia

Love him or hate him, Sixers’ ‘Sixth Man’ superfan is hard to miss

For decades a prominent fixture courtside at every Raptors home game and some on the road, Bhatia, 67, has pretty much become synonymous with the team itself as well as a representative of the city’s fandom. He has worked officially with the team to organize multicultural nights at their games.

Raptors Fans Sing 'O Canada' in the Streets After Team Advances to NBA Finals

Raptors Fans Sing 'O Canada' in the Streets After Team Advances to NBA Finals Raptors Fans Sing 'O Canada' in the Streets After Team Advances to NBA Finals

Nav Bhatia is better known as the Superfan . He hasn’t missed a Raptor ’s home game since they first began playing in 1995. His goal is simple; unite people of all ages and backgrounds through the game of basketball so they don’t have to face the discrimination Nav faced over the years as a visible

The Toronto Raptors have only been around for about 20 years, but Nav Bhatia has never missed a game. This super fan left his native India to resettle in

He reportedly shells out thousands of dollars every year to buy tickets for kids to attend the games. He’s tight with some of the Raptors — he even attended Vince Carter’s wedding and sat with popular centre Bismack Biyombo for Game 6 Saturday.

That status is sure to reach new heights now that the Raptors have advanced to the NBA final for the first time in franchise history.

On Sunday journalist Muhammad Lila penned a Twitter thread praising Bhatia and his undying devotion to the Raptors. The thread highlighted Bhatia’s humble beginnings as an immigrant, and his steady success in the car dealership industry, all the while retracing his Raptors’ dedication since its inception in 1995.

The thread generated thousands of impressions and comments from everywhere, with people expressing appreciation of the team and Bhatia as a symbol of the country’s diversity. Even Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr chimed in, calling it “fantastic” and “great stuff.”

“Looking forward to welcoming you to Toronto,” Bhatia replied to Kerr’s message as the two-time defending champions prepare to come to the city to face the Raptors — the first time an NBA final takes place outside the U.S.

“Congratulations on yet another finals appearance. I hope we get a chance to break bread,” Bhatia added, probably hoping Raptors also break Warriors run to another title.

Gilbert Ngabo is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @dugilbo

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Watch: Raptors fans swear at Curry's parents outside hotel.
Warning: Video contains coarse language Raptors fans heckling and swearing at Stephen Curry’s mom outside their hotel pic.twitter.com/lAJi5380GA — The Render (@TheRenderMedia) June 11, 2019 Toronto Raptors fans can be seen in a video posted Tuesday to social media giving a hostile reception to Dell and Sonya Curry, the parents of Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, outside their hotel. In the clip, fans can be heard heckling and yelling profanities at the pair while Sonya Curry gestures back in response. The Warriors won Game 5 on Monday in Toronto to stave off elimination in the NBA Finals.

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