All eyes on Durant on October 1st
Everyone is rushing down towards the court to get a better view. Where is he…where is he? My brother and I are almost trampled over as we join the masses in storming down the aisles.
No, not Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. For once, the splash brothers are not the stars of the show tonight. A loud, thunderous booing suddenly erupts in the arena as I spot him emerge from the gates. Wow ー what a sight. Kevin Durant repping Bay Area uniform.
On the 1st of October, I had the opportunity to watch the Toronto Raptors face off against the Golden State Warriors at Rogers Arena. The game marked the kickoff of NBA Preseason.
The American National Anthem is underway. I am delighted to see the Raptors squad bowing their heads and linking arms during the “Star-Spangled Banner”, a bold move clearly intended to speak out against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States. In using sports as a platform for social influence, the Raptors join the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, and many other professional athletes from all sports,
he game itself is filled with emotion, humor, and jaw dropping plays. Durant’s first bucket as a warrior is certainly a milestone. As he surges towards the hoop for a thunderous(get that pun, basketball fans?) slam dunk, the “boos” quickly turn to cheers and excitement. And not to forget Raptors point guard Cory Joseph’s half court shot at the end of the third quarter, and Stephen Curry’s hilarious play:
While there were no crazy stat lines, there are some crazy plays. Whether it is Curry’s alley oop to Iguodala, Sullinger’s blocks, or the emerging star Patrick McCaw (I know, I hadn’t heard of him either) making a statement off the bench for the warriors, the crowd is on its feet multiple times throughout the game. In the end, the Raptors oust the Warriors 97-93, but this result can be taken with a grain of salt since starters from both sides were kept rested for most of the game.
But perhaps my biggest realization at the game was that Vancouver NEEDS a basketball team. Badly. The basketball following in Vancouver is extremely strong, as evidenced by the fact that the tickets for this game sold out in what was approximated to be around 5 seconds. And the roaring and electrifying energy I felt from the crowd inside the arena was unlike any other NBA Game I had been to. Since the Grizzlies left to Memphis, we are a city that has been deprived of our love for the game of basketball.
Until then…WE THE NORTH!
By: Samir Damji