Sometimes you wake up and the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and you know it’s going to be a good day, and sometimes that day is even better than good.That was my Monday, and Monday’s are never good, this one however was a life highlight, but in order to see why I have to go back to the start.
One random day I get a text from the big homie Chris, now Chris is just a dope guy, if he texts you chances are it’s going to be something awesome, this case was no different, “yo the Raptors are coming you getting tickets?” I don’t know how he knew before me, seeing how he lives on the other side of the country, but he did and I replied “hell yes”.
The last time the Raps played in Calgary to the best of my knowledge was against the Grizzlies, when they lived in Vancouver, so the chance to see them play in my city was unmissable.
When the tickets went on sale I stressed and stressed, back, refresh, “I am not a robot”, refresh and 35min later I had landed nose bleeds, I was bummed, that was until I talked to the rest of my homies, no one had gotten any, I was the lucky one, and that was just the start.
I checked my email one afternoon which usually consists of “no I don’t want this Groupon” and “these sneaker boutiques never quit with the emails” but on this day something caught my eye, it was an invite from Footlocker to attend their Fantasy Camp.
I had heard and seen somethings from previous Canada Series games but I was still almost positive the PDF file I was about to open was a virus in disguise, but it wasn’t! I was actually going!
Minutes felt like hours, hours like days, but every day that passed was one day closer, and the day before was special as well.
Footlocker gave the city an experience like we’ve never had when they brought Raptors legend Jerome ‘Junk Yard Dog’ Williams to the Chinook House of Hoops for a meet and greet, along with a piece of precious metal; the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy.
After meeting one of the all time fan favourite Raptors and snapping a quick shot I stared at my reflection in the perfectly polished trophy for a few minutes before heading home to try and get rested up for the excitement coming in less than 24 hours.
Do you remember the feeling as a kid waking Christmas morning? Up early, no alarm, no coffee, wide awake with the energy of one of those too huge Red Bulls, high on life, that was my Monday morning.
I slid out of bed with the quickness of Demar DeRozan on the baseline, jumped in the shower like I was Terrence Ross taking the dunk competition, it was my day, Kyle Lowry at half court with the last seconds ticking off the clock and I didn’t have a shred of doubt in my mind, it’s in, I’m in the Saddledome, playing on a NBA court in my hometown like I’m Cory Joseph. Walking into the Saddledome’s Chrysler Club doors I was met by familiar names and faces, some from my circle, some I’ve met through the sneaker community, and some I knew from Instagram, but I was meeting in person for the first time, that’s when I saw them, the VIP lanyards, that’s when sh*t got real, a legit NBA VIP.
We were led inside through the back halls, those celebrity status hallways you see on tv into our dressing room.
Each of us had our own space complete with our Footlocker name tags decked out with full gear, a Footlocker emblem placed in the middle of our black adidas basketball jerseys, black adidas shorts, official NBA socks wrist and head bands, Footlocker pulled no stops, that was evident from the completion of our gear, each of us lacing up Shark Black adidas D Lillard 2’s.
I found myself pausing throughout, pinching myself, trying to absorb the moment but at the same time trying to wake from what must be dream, that is when they lifted the black sheet that was covering a table in the centre of the room.
This was a moment I have wanted to be apart of for as long as I can remember; a sneak peek at up coming products! However we were sworn to secrecy and if I told you what was seen I would have to … well you know the rest, but I can tell you you should be excited and make sure to stay locked with Footlocker in every way you know how, for the future is bright. After the products were packed away we were introduced to our coach, Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin aka Matty D, Mr. Regional Three Point Shot Shoutouts himself, he relayed the message we had heard numerous times throughout the day; “no pressure, but Footlocker hasn’t lost any of the 10 games since this series started, no pressure but you can’t lose”, it was awesome.That’s when were notified that the Denver Nuggets were done their shoot around and it was time for us to take the court, an official NBA court, the same court the Raptors would play the Nuggets in just a few hours, the feeling really hit when the Denver players walked through the same hallway as us when we made our way to the court, as in; I had to move over so NBA champion Mike Miller could get by me. We ran out the players tunnel to the Raptors cheerleaders and mascot cheering and high fives, that’s when we saw our opponents, dressed in red the NBA 2K team with coach and one of my favourite commentators Jack Armstrong.
The Junk Yard Dog tossed the tip off and the game started, my game was rusty, rusty might be an understatement I was mad weak, luckily for me and my team we had a couple stars to pick up the slack for guys like me, busy just looking around still in disbelief that this was actually happening.
Once the last buzzer sounded (was actually the ref counting down from 10) I had finished with 3 or 4 dimes and more importantly Team Footlocker got the win, the highlight of my game was at halftime when I hit a corner 3 nothing but net, but of course it didn’t count, having a couple witnesses to my corner swish from the NBA line was good enough for me though lol. After the Most Hustle awards were given we all gathered around for a team photo as a suited up man with white gloves brought out the Larry O’Brien trophy for us to pose with, what a day, all I can say is wow, wow and “hey Footlocker Canada if you’re reading this any chance you can send me that team pic?” Huge thank you to Footlocker Canada and everyone involved with making me and the rest of the squad feel and live like celebs for the day, a day I will never forget.