A Visit from Canada's Favourite Basketball Fan

A Visit from Canada's Favourite Basketball Fan

Nav Bhatia is many things—Raptors Superfan, entrepreneur, philanthropist, husband, dad, and most recently, Canada Basketball’s Community Ambassador.

When Nav moved to Canada in 1984, he started a new profession as a car salesman after being unable to land a job in his industry as a mechanical engineer. Nine years (and a lot of car sales) later, in 1995, when the Toronto Raptors franchise joined the NBA, he bought a pair of season tickets. He hasn’t missed a home game since.

Fast forward to 2018 and Nav had established the Superfan Foundation—an initiative bringing diverse people together through sport. All that was left? A championship. Well, as we all know, the Raptors won the 2019 NBA Championship and the team awarded Nav his very own championship ring—the first NBA fan to ever receive one.

So when Nav came out to the west coast this past January, it’s no surprise that everyone from young basketball fans to media members to politicians wanted to meet Canada’s Favourite Basketball Fan and newly appointed Canada Basketball Community Ambassador.

Nav’s Visit by the Numbers

  • 3 days
  • 6 communities (Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria, Langford, Saanich, Oak Bay)
  • 33 stops
  • 300+ kms
  • 18 interviews (yes, 18)
  • 2 mayoral meet and greets
  • 10 basketball teams visited
  • 100s of students met
  • 1473 selfies taken (okay, this one's a guess, but we don’t think we’re far off)
  • 1 Championship Ring shared
  • Countless memories made

A Letter From Nav (Penned January 2020)

Victoria—thank you for welcoming me to your beautiful city. It was great getting to know local basketball fans of all ages and cultures. And it will be even better when we meet again during the FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June! Our Men’s National Team is going to be loaded with some serious talent and will have as good of a chance as any team to book their ticket to Tokyo. I can’t wait! The Toronto Raptors showed the world that when Canada plays with the best, we win. With the combination of top-notch NBA talent, Nick Nurse’s coaching, and home-court advantage, an Olympic medal in Tokyo is within reach.

But first, we need to earn our way there.

The last Olympic medal our Men’s National Team won was a silver at the 1936 Berlin Games. The gold-medal game was played in the pouring rain, on a dirt court, with a final score of 19-8. Basketball has come a long way since 1936 (I think we can expect the games in June to have a few more points!) But that competitive spirit is what must carry through. Let’s make some noise Victoria. And let’s give Canada a true home-court advantage!

The City of Victoria is committed, the Province of BC is committed, Canada is committed, the players are committed—now it's time for all the fans to show commitment by coming out and supporting our national team.

See you all very soon,

Nav Bhatia
Official Toronto Raptors' Superfan | Canada Basketball Community Ambassador