NBA All-Stars in Toronto 'is a dream come true,' says Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia
Toronto is the 'world’s greatest city,' says man who hasn't missed a Raptors game for 21 years
Nav Bhatia, the official Toronto Raptors superfan, says the NBA All-Star weekend is a great opportunity to showcase Toronto's diversity and multiculturalism to the world.
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"This is a dream come true," Bhatia, who says hasn't missed or even been late for a Toronto Raptors game in 21 years, told CBC News Network. "To see the All-Star happening in the city is amazing."
Already this weekend, Bhatia has met musician Drake, Mayor John Tory, tennis pro Milos Raonic and a whole slew of NBA superstars, who have all gathered in the city for Sunday night's big game and the weekend-long festivities.
Bhatia credits basketball for making Toronto feel like home. When he first came here from India more than three decades ago, he said it was hard to fit in and find his place.
"I'm a Sikh. I have a turban and a beard. It looks different," he said. "I couldn't get a job."
Now he owns a successful car dealership in Mississauga.
"I finally got a job, was blessed to be very successful, and I use this particular sport to integrate my community into the mainstream, to make a very nice society where everybody can be together," he said. "You know, we can look different, but our passions are the same like anybody else."
He cherishes both the Raptors and the city for their diversity.
"This is for the people know to know that, yes, this is the world's greatest city," Bhatia said. "Because look at the culture. When they are coming here, they are seeing all kinds of people, people like me, other kinds of people, a multicultural society — and this is what it is and that's why basketball is very special to Toronto."
The real MVP <a href="https://twitter.com/superfan_nav">@superfan_nav</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStarTO?src=hash">#NBAAllStarTO</a> <a href="https://t.co/WMEqPXza4d">pic.twitter.com/WMEqPXza4d</a>—@cbcsports
All-Star festivities continue tonight at the Air Canada Centre with a skills competition and the slam-dunk contest. The official All-Star Game takes place Sunday night at 8:30 p.m.