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Toronto Superfan To Sit Courtside For Raptors' Historic Game


Toronto's NBA team, the Raptors, has a superfan.


DRAKE: (Singing) Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding? Say you'll never ever leave from beside me.


OK, yes, Toronto's own Drake, of course. But even Drake's antics on the sidelines don't come close to Nav Bhatia's.

MARTIN: Bhatia says he hasn't missed a single home game in 24 years. He says his friends think he maybe has an addiction to the Toronto Raptors.

NAV BHATIA: I agree, I'm guilty. But I work really hard. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't womanize. I only Raptorize (ph).

KING: He only Raptorizes. The Raptors are in the NBA Finals for the first time in the franchise's history, so you can imagine what this moment means for Bhatia.

BHATIA: I feel on the top of the world. I was not believing it. I had to pinch myself a couple of times to see. We are in the NBA Finals.

MARTIN: And it's kind of like he's part of the team. Over the years, Bhatia has gotten a fan base of his own.

KING: He immigrated to Canada from India in 1984, and he says at first, he didn't feel welcome.

BHATIA: I couldn't get a job at that time as an engineer. Nobody wanted an engineer with a beard and turban.

KING: So he got a job as a car salesman, and he worked his way up, eventually buying the whole dealership.

MARTIN: Journalist Muhammad Lila has written about Nav Bhatia. He says Toronto has come a long way in welcoming its immigrants.

MUHAMMAD LILA: It's a great moment for the city to say, look, like, we're a city that was made by immigrants. We're a city of people like Nav Bhatia.

MARTIN: Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors is tonight at home in Toronto. So you know Bhatia will be sitting courtside. And if you're not a Raptors fan, no worries - Nav Bhatia doesn't mind.

BHATIA: We are all brothers, and at the end of the day, that's what brings us together.

MARTIN: That and basketball.


DRAKE: (Singing) 'Cause I want you and I need you. And I'm down for you... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.