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6.The Boy Who Broke The Bracket
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13.Monarchs by the Millions: Welcome to Butterfly Forest
14.Rezball: The Hottest Sport in Nebraska’s Cold Winter
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23.On 9/11, This Canadian Town Welcomed In Stranded Passengers
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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.
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