Where in the world are Raptors fans watching the NBA Finals?

The moment the Toronto Raptors clinched their spot in the NBA Finals, Sidney Tso's wife turned to him and said: "You gotta go." He agreed, even though they live in Hong Kong.

Interactive Raptors map shows fans from around the world watching NBA Finals

Left to right: Tuktoyaktuk Mayor Merven Gruben and staff members Katrina Cockney, Caroline Loreen, Felicia Panaktolak and Stacey Cockney-Raddy stand at the Arctic Ocean sign in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T. showing their support for the Toronto Raptors. (Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk/Facebook)

It was the moment the Toronto Raptors clinched the Eastern Conference Finals in Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks that Sidney Tso's wife turned to him and said: "You gotta go."

She meant leave their home in Hong Kong to go to Toronto to watch the Raptors' first game against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. 

And even though it cost $1,200 for a last-minute flight, and probably a lot more for a seat to the game, Tso said it was worth it.

"I think everyone understands it's more than basketball," he said while standing with a crowd outside Scotiabank Arena just hours before Game 1.

"It's about inspiration, it's about the underdog coming out on top, and it's about acknowledgement that this is one of the best cities in the world," he said.

Tso is originally from Toronto, but not all fans are.

Courtney and James Auclair, passionate basketball fans who flew in from Brisbane, Australia to watch the team play, admit they have no ties to the city, although they've visited before and attended Raptors games.

"We just love the city, love the people and love the game — we couldn't wait to be here," Courtney said.

James described the chance to see the Raptors play as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Fans travel from far and wide to witness NBA Finals

3 years ago
Duration 1:00
Oh, the places you'll go for the Raptors. Fans travelled from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong to witness Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Not all Raptors fans can hop on a plane at the last minute and buy tickets to this hotly anticipated playoff series, but they can still watch from afar — even if it means getting up at "dark o'clock" in Amalfi, Italy, like Torontonian Carlton Whitfield, who is travelling around Europe.

Bill Pearce in Ontario's Muskoka region had double the entertainment for Game 2 on Sunday. 

"Watching dinosaurs chasing balls and bears running around the neighbourhood," he tweeted, along with a video of a mother bear with her three cubs emerging from a neighbour's garage.

Dino Basso wouldn't let a plane ride from Calgary to Toronto stop him from keeping up with Pascal Siakam's 32-point performance in Game 1.

"There was surprisingly no rush to the baggage claim on this Raptors night," he tweeted.

Canadian Olympic sprinter Aaron Kingsley Brown posted a tribute to the "King of the North" — Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard — all the way from Stockholm, Sweden. In a photo, Brown is seen squatting on a track with his tongue out, mirroring the iconic image of Leonard hitting the buzzer-beating shot that won Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. 

"Raptors in 6ix," Brown wrote. 

Some fans are even watching from a different century altogether — like the 19th in the case of Toronto's Fort York National Historic Site, a War of 1812-era museum, .

Where will you be watching the NBA Finals? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @CBCToronto.

With files from Metro Morning


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?