Toronto to Tampa, in 6 weeks: Inside the Raptors frantic COVID-19 relocation

Title: Toronto to Tampa, in 6 weeks: Inside the Raptors frantic COVID-19 relocation
Date: December 22, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I went to Tampa to go deep inside the Raptors’ whirlwind relocation for the start of the 2020-21 NBA season.

TAMPA, Fla. — Jama Mahlalela is a dad racing against the holiday clock in a Florida Walmart.

It’s Dec. 16. In a few days, his family will join him in Tampa Bay, where his employer, the Toronto Raptors, will play home games for at least the start of the 2020-21 NBA season. Mahlalela, an assistant coach with the team, would like his family’s temporary home to be holiday-ready for his five-year-old daughter, Mia, and three-year-old son, Jace, so he picks up a Christmas tree and a few other small gifts. He crosses his fingers that the family’s Volkswagen, which is being shipped from Toronto with the kids’ other presents in the trunk, arrives on time.

Earlier in the week, Mahlalela moved out of the team hotel situated next door to Amalie Arena and into a rental in Wesley Chapel, about a half-hour drive north of Tampa. He happily traded the proximity to work for the extra bedroom and outdoor space the house will provide his family.

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