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3.On 9/11, This Canadian Town Welcomed In Stranded Passengers
4.Off the Grid on a Homemade Island
5.Island of One: The Keeper of the Lighthouse
6.Where Hoop Dreams Are Handmade
7.Scouting American Giants for Aussie Rules Football
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9.Canada’s Japanese-Style Hot Dogs
10.Ticketing for Good: Canada’s Positivity Police
11.A Century of Keeping Movies Alive
12.FIBA Allow Hijab | A Great Big Film
13.The Boy Who Broke The Bracket
14.How Puffins Have Divided This Canadian Town
15.Navigating Niagara Falls by Helicopter | That's Amazing
16.Photographing Liquid Mountains
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18.Rezball: The Hottest Sport in Nebraska’s Cold Winter
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22.How a Robot Hitchhiked Across Canada
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24.Twist It Like Troy
25.Pow Wow in the Club: A New Spin on First Nations Music
You know the sports fans who can name every player who is or has been on their team, are glued to the TV during games and own one too many team jerseys? They might be the biggest basketball fans you know, but I’ll tell you something: There’s a car dealership owner who just may have them beat.
Nav Bhatia sought refuge in Canada after brutal anti-Sikh riots in India in 1984 and came to the new country with little money and fewer connections. After landing a job as a car salesman and working his way up to owning a dealership, Bhatia found his own community in Canada: basketball. And since 1995, he hasn’t missed a single Toronto Raptors basketball game. Not just catching it on TV or recording it to watch later. No, Bhatia has gone in person to every. single. game.
Now known as the Raptors’ biggest fan, Bhatia has become a figure in the Toronto basketball scene. You might notice Bhatia if you ever watch a Raptors game—he’s the guy with the turban with floor seats. Each year, he spends over $300,000 on tickets for local children, mainly kids of brown immigrant families.
Being the Raptors’ No. 1 fan has its perks. He’s hung out with the likes of Drake, been thanked personally by Kobe Bryant and has become something of a celebrity, himself, taking photos with fans every once in a while at the stadium.
For Bhatia, basketball gave him a community that he felt warmly welcomed into, and he hopes he can provide that for others as well. He hopes that his love of the game can inspire other immigrants, especially those from South Asia, to integrate into the game of basketball. He has even started his own nonprofit organization “dedicated to raising money to build basketball courts and camps for kids … in Canada and across the globe.” For Bhatia, basketball gave him a community, and he hopes it can do the same for others.
Toronto, ON, CanadaFull Map
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