Written by Jaspreet Grewal
(Toronto, On) Despite mother nature’s uncompromising disposition towards the residents of Scarborough, Ontario – with the continuous downpour — it was a joyous afternoon for basketball fans last Saturday as the NBA Nations tour made its final stop at the Scarborough Town Center.
The event, sponsored by a number of affiliates including Foot Locker, Samsung and Sprite, was on the final leg of its five city Canadian tour; an expedition that spanned from August 9th to September 13th (Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Halifax were the other four destinations).
The afternoon featured a range of activities for fans to take part in including a skills competition and a fully equipped video gaming center. Participants and spectators were able to win prizes and free t-shirts as part of the six hour showcase, while also given the opportunity to snap photos with both ‘The Raptor’ (Toronto Raptor’s inimitable mascot) and the Larry O’brien Championship Trophy Presented by 2k.
Although the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown and the Foot Locker three point contest were the main attractions of the event, it was former Toronto Raptor and Michigan State alum, Morris Peterson, who had fans gushing with excitement.
“It feels great”, Peterson said when asked about returning to Toronto and giving back to the city he once called home. “Just, first of all, this is where it started for me, getting all of this support, coming in as a 21 year old rookie and the city just embracing me. So when NBA Canada and Samsung called me about the event I was like ‘I’m there’. I just know the support they give me and so I wanted to give back.”
After expressing appreciation to everyone who came out for the event, the 6,7” retiree was kind enough to sign autographs and take photos with a number of Raptor faithfuls. An all too common theme throughout Peterson’s illustrious career.
He even eluded on the progress of Canada basketball and how far it’s come since his first time in the country 14 years ago.
“Canada basketball has really taken off. You’ve got a lot of number 1 picks, a lot of guys getting drafted and going to college in the states and really making a name for themselves. So it’s definitely great.”
Add Mo-Pete to the growing list of enthusiasts who are witnessing the development and overall growth of hoops in Canada. A list that’s only going to increase as time goes by.
Mo-Pete was certainly entertained by Justin “Jus Fly” Darlington who threw down some spectacular dunks including his patented cartwheel dunk to take home the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown for the 2nd consecutive year.
Written by Jaspreet Grewal