‘It was always basketball’: How the Raptors became family to a superfan couple

Title: ‘It was always basketball’: How the Raptors became family to a superfan couple
Date: June 11, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Shahid and Samira, the Raptors season ticket holders and 905 superfans who missed the Raptors championship for the best reason possible.

Bobby Webster was taken by surprise when they told him. Shahid Hadi and Samira Khan, two longtime Toronto Raptors season seat holders and Raptors 905 superfans, would miss the concluding games of the NBA Finals.

Worrying about how to break the news of their absence to the Raptors general manager is something most fans can’t relate to.

But Shahid and Samira aren’t most fans.

The Hadis rarely miss a game, let alone an important one. They’d gotten to know Raptors staff and their families thanks to their regular seats at Scotiabank Arena, just behind the friends and family section of seating near the players’ tunnel. They are fixtures beside the Raptors 905 bench in Mississauga and had watched Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam grow from rookies into potential champions.

For Shahid and Samira, the Raptors became much more than a team. They were part of an extended family — people that were part of all of their big moments as a couple. It was a connection that grew through years of sweat and cheers, packed into the seats, giving hugs and high fives, sharing disappointments and victories with players and staff they’d come to love. Their passion for the team mirrored that of many Raptors fans who’d packed into Scotiabank Arena, Jurassic Park, and in parks and basement and pubs across Canada during last season’s championship run.

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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