London

Meet the numbers man behind the Toronto Raptors

During every home game at Scotiabank Arena, Londoner Karl Toulous has been able to experience the excitement of the NBA Finals from one of the best seats in the house.

Karl Toulouse makes a living sitting centre court during Raptors' games

Karl Toulouse poses with the 2019 NBA Eastern Conference Champion Trophy (Submitted)

When the Raptors win or lose, there's a pretty good change Karl Toulouse can predict what went right or wrong.

Toulouse is an NBA statistician and he's been working for the Raptors since the team hit the court in 1995. After almost 900 games, the job is still a thrill. 

"Every night is a new experience in the NBA. You honestly don't know what you're going to get in the game," he said.

While on the job, statisticians have to keep it professional, but Toulouse says it's hard not to cheer for the team that's making basketball history. 

"The excitement of this playoff run has really been second to none," he said. "There's little fist pumps going on underneath the table to go 'Yeah, he made it.' We do have to remain cool and be as professional as we can, but I still celebrate when it's a big basket."

During home games, the London Ont., native is easy to spot, sitting in some of the best seats in the house, watching every move each player makes with an eye on the clock.

"We sit on the centre court line right on the second row," Toulouse said.

 

The excitement of this playoff run has really been second to none- Karl Toulouse

He and his team of statistician sit so they can be in constant contact with the official scorers, clock operators and referees. 

They record everything from shot locations to fouls. 

Cut from the team, but still on the court

Toulouse's journey to landing this job was unexpected. After playing basketball through his youth, Toulouse failed to make the Seneca College team.

But, that didn't stop him from being involved with the game he loved since childhood.

"I told the coach, 'I understand your decision on cutting me, but I just have to be part of this team in someway.' I've had basketball throughout all my life."  

The coach then asked him if he had ever considered statistics.

At the time, Toulouse had only done game statistics briefly while in high school, but he decided to give the job a shot.

"Everything fell into the right place after that," he said.

The stats gig has lead Toulouse to many exciting locations courtside, including NBA exhibition games in Toronto in 1991 and the FIBA World Championship in Toronto and Hamilton in 1994.

There, he met people from the John Bitove group who brought the Raptors to Toronto in 1995. He's been with the team ever since. 

"I love what I do and I don't get tired of what I do," he said. "I'm still very much a kid at heart."

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